Countries / Territories

WEDF 2019

  •  Meet in Ethiopia to do business with Africa

    Register here for the International Trade Centre’s annual World Export Development Forum to be hosted at the African Union headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, the week of 18-22 November 2019, to explore this year’s theme: Trade and Invest in One Africa.
    For more information, download the WEDF brochure here.

    The World Export Development Forum is the ideal setting to discuss strategies to connect businesses to new markets and bring together buyers and sellers.

    The goal is to bring the benefits of trade to more people in a sustainable way.

    The forum is co-hosted with the Government of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia and the African Union Commission. It is timed to be a contribution to Africa Industrialization Week, led by the Department of Trade and Industry of the African Union Commission.

    We expect participants from all over the world:

    • business leaders and entrepreneurs - including women and young entrepreneurs
    • policymakers
    • international organizations
    • trade and investment promotion agencies
    • business associations
    • media

     Our topics

    Trade and investment opportunities abound in Africa, from agriculture to technology. Its agricultural market is set to reach $1 trillion by 2030. Already more than half of the world’s mobile money accounts are there. Africa is also home to the world’s fastest-growing youth population. It is expanding trade through the new African Continental Free Trade Area.

    Our topics build on these trends and opportunities, in order to deepen trade, investment and development in Africa. They include:

    • Trade and investment in the new free trade area
    • Women in trade
    • Focus on young entrepreneurs
    • E-commerce and digital trade
    • Sustainable trade opportunities
    • Skills development, mentoring and training
    • Business matchmaking, especially in agribusiness

     Our events

    The World Export Development Forum week offers workshops, panel discussions, networking and business opportunities, in partnership with the African Union Commission, the Government of Ethiopia.

    World Export Development Forum. Get up to speed on the latest trends in trade and investment in Africa that affect your strategic decisions in these key sessions.

    SheTrades Global. Innovative solutions for women’s empowerment through trade will focus on the African Continental Free Trade Area. First ladies and private sector partners will share their insights.

    YES! Forum. This youth entrepreneurship event explores policies, skills, networks and finance. Part of the Global Initiative on Decent Jobs for Youth, it is organized with the International Labour Organization, the United Nations Capital Development Fund, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization.

    Business-to-business matchmaking meetings. Join agribusiness companies of all sizes from across the globe to focus on fruits, vegetables, meat, cereals, dairy, tea, coffee, spices, agro-processing technologies and packaging solutions. ‘Speed workshops’ build your business skills, with topics ranging from marketing through social media, to e-commerce, packaging, and finance.

    Stay tuned for numerous other side events, as well as for the SME Trade Academy, which will introduce online courses to do business across borders.


    The World Export Development Forum is set this year in Ethiopia, host of the African Union headquarters, and a gateway to global markets in its own right.

    The week-long series of World Export Development Forum events is a contribution to Africa Industrialization Week, led by the African Union Commission’s Department of Trade and Industry.

    The African Union spearheaded the African Continental Free Trade Agreement, signed in Kigali in March 2018, which is merging African countries into a single market of 1.2 billion people with a combined GDP of $2.5 trillion. Its goal is to create a tariff-free continent that will grow local businesses, boost intra-African trade, speed industrialization, create jobs, and allow capital and business travellers to move freely.

    Ethiopia boasts a market of over 100 million people and Africa’s fastest growth rates over the past decade. Privatization has begun in the telecom and energy sectors, and Ethiopian Airlines is a leader in transportation connectivity. Investing heavily in industrial parks and agribusiness, Ethiopia is positioning itself as a business hub for manufacturing, while exploring green economy initiatives.

    Join us as partners

    The International Trade Centre is the only United Nations agency which focuses fully on business competitiveness. Its convening power is unique and inclusive. It brings together businesses, large and small, with policymakers, putting women and youth in the forefront.

    As the flagship event of the International Trade Centre, the success of the World Export Development Forum is based on bringing the voice of business, women and youth to policymakers.

    The World Export Development Forum, now in its 19th edition, has a track record of bringing value to participants. At the 2018 edition in Lusaka, Zambia:

    • 95% of business-to-business matchmaking participants found commercial partners
    • 87% of participants overall found partnership opportunities.

    Young entrepreneurs in a pitch competition all attracted new business deals. Several went on to win other international competitions and gained media visibility. Enrolment in the SME Trade Academy, the International Trade Centre’s online learning platform, rose by 10% in the weeks following the Lusaka forum.

    We seek partners, speakers and participants to reflect the most powerful trends in international business and job creation through trade, in: programme design, sponsorship and outreach.



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  • contact us

    If you are interested in learning more about WEDF, please contact us at wedf[at]intracen.org