By Brown Chimezie In a move to improve economic opportunities for Medium, Small and Micro Enterprises (MSMEs) mainly comprising of women and young people, Africa Fashion Week London 2023, AFWL, recently organized its inaugural UK Africa Trade Expo (UKATE) aimed at fostering a new era of collaboration in the areas of economic growth, entrepreneurial empowerment for women and youth, and ultimately drive transformative change through international trade development.
The first-ever UKATE which was held at The Institute of Directors in Central London, with the theme “Bringing Culture and Commerce Together for Sustainable Development” featured a wide range of high-level panel discussions, and interactive sessions complete with the presence of high-profile dignitaries from various African embassies, renowned educational institutions and top-rated business organizations.
The expo was officially declared opened by His Imperial Majesty, Ooni Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, the first-class monarch of the Yoruba kingdom of Ile-Ife who attended the event virtually. In his opening address, the Ooni commended Prince Kamari Ademiluyi, founder of UK Africa Trade Expo London, and his team for pulling off such a successful event that was backed up by international brands like GEC Space and other key partners.
The revered monarch said “As a small business adviser and enterprise mentor, I welcome the launch of the UK Africa Trade Expo and hope that it will grow from strength to strength over time. The UKATE led by Prince Kamari Ademiluyi unveiled its six key pillars, focusing on Connectivity & Innovation, Data & Market Innovation, Cluster & Sector Transfer, and Infrastructure Investment & Joint Veterans.
These pillars according to the organizers form the bedrock for integrating sustainability, social value, and environmental considerations within competitive markets, fostering collaboration, trust and cooperation. The expo also featured a total of 19 esteemed guest speakers cutting across various backgrounds, each shedding light on a myriad of topics ranging from fashion to exploring cutting-edge technology, revolutionizing farming, and unearthing innovative ideas to uplift the lives of the less privileged particularly the women folk and young people. The UKATE platform offers a unique opportunity for MSMEs to leverage on the UK’s historical ties to Commonwealth countries and act as catalysts for transformational change of local and regional ecosystems through International Trade Development.
The maiden UKATE held on October 27th, 2023, at the Institute of Directors in Central London, was graced by men and women of high administrative capacity, business leaders, and high-profile individuals including key cabinet members from the Bauchi government ranging from Commissioners for Finance, Cooperatives and SMEs and Youth Empowerment. The Expo also received a major boost with the presence of representatives from elite brands such as Providus Bank, Kings College, and Henley Business School. The expo serves an avenue for beneficial collaborations among stakeholders.