Kuona Afrika expo set to boost tourism, investment in Africa

Posted: July 1, 2012 in travel & tourism

In its bid to boost Nigeria’s, and by extension, Africa’s tourism, trade and investment potential, a private initiative, the Kuona Afrika, has concluded plans to organize a three-day trade exhibition tagged:  Kuona Afrika Tourism, Trade and Investment 2012.

The noble initiative conceived as a world class international exhibition also seeks to provide a platform for participants and visitors alike to network for the purpose of creating avenues for international business partnership.

Scheduled to hold from October, 19 through to 21 in Antwerp, Belgium, the expo is organized under the theme of; An African Discovery.

According to Mr. Emmanuel Ajufoh, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer for the Kuona Africa Expo Committee, the main aim of the Kuona Africa Expo is to create business opportunities between African countries and Europe at a time when the whole world is looking to Africa for business and investment opportunities and Europe on its part is eager to regain her fast fading traditional position as Africa’s favoured business partner.

“With thanks to the current surge of the Chinese in every country of Africa and dominating every aspect of life. Europe’s share of business opportunities from the continent is certainly dwindling. So Kuona Afrika aims to bring Africa closer to Europe,” said Ajufoh.

On the choice of Belgium as host of the trade expo, Ajufoh explained that the country was preferred ahead of traditional expo conference destinations because its citizens are fast becoming the most curious Europeans about Africa and open to form better and genuine relations of a mutually beneficial nature, adding that ‘with this unique and enviable positioning, Belgium’s choice as a host country is certainly justified.’

“Many wonder why Belgium is chosen to host this maiden edition of Kuona Afrika Expo and not Germany or France which are the usual expo destinations for Africans. Belgium is certainly a gateway to Europe with easy air and train connections to the rest of the continent. It is also the central governmental and administrative capital of Europe and headquarters to many international governmental and nongovernmental organizations. Belgium’s Antwerp port is one of the largest in Europe,” he explained.

On what exhibitors stood to gain from participation, Ajufoh said international exposure for corporate organizations from Africa was assured.

“International exposure is a sure gain that can come to African corporate entities by participating. It is also not often that European small and medium scale business owners have the opportunity to interact directly with potential African business entities, right at their own doorsteps. Europeans have remained the people who make the overtures, now Africans have come of age, able to make their decisions on who they want to forge business relations.

“Africans visiting or participating in the expo will have the opportunity to meet with the ordinary European entrepreneur; they can make their presentations one to one either for selling African tourism destinations or making an investment or business proposition,” Ajufoh stressed.

The expo will also feature a one-day seminar in addition to a publication, the Kuona Afrika Tourism, Trade and Investment magazine, which, according to Ajufoh, guarantees that the expo continues beyond the expo arena and continues to make its impact long after the expo event.

With a pre-event and post event edition distributed in major African countries and Europe and parts of the United States, Kuona Afrika, said Ajufoh,’ will truly be an African experience for both Europeans and Africans alike.’

The planned one-day seminar under the theme of Afrika Tourism, Trade and Investment Potential, is expected to feature  Ambassador Usman Baraya who until recently was Nigeria Ambassador to the Kingdom of Belgium, Head of Nigerian Mission to the European Union, and non-resident Ambassador to the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg.

Baraya, a seasoned diplomat with 27 years of experience in the Foreign Service, who has served in various Nigerian Missions among which are Geneva, Brussels, Riyadh, London and Hong Kong, Washington DC., would bring to bear his vast experience in forging business and diplomatic ties with institutions across Europe and America.

“He is a key figure championing the profile of Nigeria in the ACP Group of States as the group enters the critical stage of concluding Economic Partnership Agreement with the European Union. As a pan-Africanist Baraya’s opinion is highly regarded in diplomatic circles,” Ajufoh stressed.

Ajufoh, a core pan-Africanist who has championed many pan African initiatives in Belgium and Europe, holds higher degrees in African History and Archaeology with over 20 years experience in Public Relations and Event Management. He is the founder and current President of African Forum VZW Belgium, a non-governmental umbrella Organization of various Africa countries.

“To begin we must first answer one of the most frequently asked questions. What is Kuona Afrika? This word simply means ‘See Afrika’ in the Swahili or simply; experience Africa. Europeans are very curious about the African way of life; many crave for a truly African experience. With this knowledge in mind Kuona Afrika will have a very rich content that will truly showcase Africa to Europe in all its ramifications.

“Through the various themes of the expo, Kuona Africa will showcase Africa’s natural and man-made attractions, including favoured holiday destinations, Africa’s business and investment opportunities, African fashion and textile designs, African ethnic and contemporary art and craft, African delicacies, cuisines and winery, Africa’s traditional medicinal remedies and herbal curatives, Africa’s resorts and spas, Africa’s traditional and contemporary musical and entertainment trends, Africa’s traditional lifestyle and cultural heritage and last but not the least throw more light on the activities of the ever growing in importance, African Diaspora community, among other things,” he enthused.

The three-day expo presents a unique opportunity for tourism player: to network with African countries for a true African discovery; to promote investments to African countries; to give the African Diaspora community in Europe more visibility through the African Diaspora forum on jobs, social networking, entrepreneurship, development initiatives and others; to provide travellers with the latest airline routes and current promotions on African destinations.

Others are: To show recent tourism developments in Africa; to create business opportunities between African countries and Europe; to showcase the diverse cultures of Africa, traditional institutions and past civilizations.

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