The Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Benin (CCIB) has been hosting since Thursday 28 July 2022, the Great Meeting of Artisans of Africa and the Diaspora (GRAAD). On the initiative of the Cameroonian Nadine Hagen, more than ten African countries have come together to promote “Made in Africa”.
In Cotonou, several delegations from more than ten African countries and the African diaspora are mobilised around a unique event. This is the Graad.
Why GRAAD ?
Land of opportunity, the world’s richest continent in raw materials, Africa is unfortunately not very present on the international market. The Made in Africa label thus seems to be completely absent from globalisation. This complex is not just of concern to leaders, but also to the African population of all categories and the diaspora. Hence the Graad initiative. It thus aims to pool forces, provide a referenced platform where the whole world will find certified, quality products from different African countries.
“The Graad celebrates African genius and highlights the talents of our entrepreneurs,” said Nadine Hagen, initiator of the project. It is a short circuit between producers and consumers. But beyond that, it is a network that rethinks the future of Africa and acts to promote, enhance and consume Made in Africa throughout the world. The development of made in Africa has indeed become an imperative to break the old logic.
From now on, we are no longer Cameroonian, Beninese, Gabonese, Ivorian, Malian… From now on, we are African”.Queen Clarisse Bell
This first edition in Cotonou brings together more than one hundred artisans from Africa and the diaspora around a fair. There are all kinds of products made in Africa. It is in fact an open-air market which is taking place at the CCIB in Cotonou and which extends over three days from this Thursday 28 to Saturday 30 July 2022.
Among the African delegations present at the fair was Her Majesty Queen Clarisse Bell, who came from Cameroon to plug her hole in the holey jar, the very symbol of the Graad. “From now on, we are no longer Cameroonian, Beninese, Gabonese, Ivorian, Malian… From now on, we are African,” she said at the opening ceremony.
For the Godmother of the event, Mrs. Christine Tossou, Vice-President of the CCIB, the Graad comes at the right time to encourage more local consumption. “In the aftermath of covid-19 and also with the war in Ukraine, we have all understood that Africa needs to take charge of itself, at least to achieve a certain degree of food self-sufficiency,” the CCIB vice-president said, before officially opening the proceedings.
Among the activities of this edition of the Graad, we can note the sales fair, the business network, the conferences and master classes; all this followed by a Gala evening planned for Saturday 30 July.
It should be noted that the Graad benefits, among others, from the support of the CCIB and the Craft Development Fund (FDA).