Zimbabwe’s annual premier mining and engineering exhibition, Mine Entra, has attracted a huge number of exhibitors for the first time since 1997 which officials says is a reflection of the national focus towards economic recovery.
Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF) chairman Bekithemba Nkomo yesterday said to date 253 exhibitors have booked a total space of 6 485 square metres up from 3 442 last year.
Nkomo said this was an almost 88% increase which compares favourably with other exhibitions in the Southern African Development Community (Sadc) region.
“This year’s edition is reflective of the national focus in mining and what is happening in the market place.” said Nkomo.
“ Mine Entra 2011 has generated a lot of interest, especially from local exhibitors who are keen to showcase their latest products and services applicable to the three sectors of our economy.”
The theme for this years’ edition is “Exploring Business Synergies in Mining, Engineering and Transport” and is scheduled for July 20-22 at the ZITF grounds in Bulawayo. In explaining why there is enthusiasm this year, Nkomo said: “Generally there is recovery in the economy and an exhibition like the Mine Entra is a mirror image of what is happening in the economy.
“It is fair to say that there are signs of more activity in the economy than last year, particularly in the mining sector.”
A 47% growth in the mining sectors is expected this year up from 46,0% production output recorded last year.
Nkomo said local companies have taken up much of the exhibition space and 200 exhibitors have confirmed attendance.
He 53 foreign exhibitors will participate, of which 39 are indirect and 14 direct exhibitors mainly from South Africa.
“The 253 exhibitors is the highest number that we have had since 1997 when we had 235 exhibitors” said Nkomo.
Last year foreign exhibitors shunned the exhibition with some of them citing the controversial Indigenisation law which seeks to compel foreign-owned companies to cede 51% shareholding to locals among other issues.
However, ZITF general manager Danial Chigaru said it was difficult to detect the legislation’s impact on the exhibition.
“It’s difficult to say, but from a positive point of view, most of the local people participating are small suppliers to the mining sector and they are finding a niche in the sector” said Chigaru.
Meanwhile, a conference and an interactive workshop that will run concurrently with the exhibition has been organised and will be held under the theme “Exploring Business Synergies for Growth of the Mining Industry”.