INDIAN and Chinese businesses have made advance bookings for the 2018 edition of the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF), with organisers saying they are targeting Asian representation for the fair.
BY TATIRA ZWINOIRA
This comes as foreign participants at this year’s fair accounted for 10% South African businesses featuring the most, followed by Namibia.
ZITF Company chairperson Ruth Ncube told NewsDay at the marketing launch of ZITF 2018 in Harare on Tuesday that her organisation wanted to reach uncharted territories.
“We are looking at the Asian countries in 2018. We already have advanced bookings coming out of China, particularly, coming out of India and we believe that from an Asian perspective we will begin to see a lot more participation as we have had over the years,” she said.
“Again, coming out Europe, it has been a big trading partner within ZITF so we are starting to pick not more of country representation, but company representation within those countries that are also coming in.”
Next year’s edition of ZITF runs under the theme, Industrialisation, Competitiveness and Cohesion, with a focus on trying to improve industry.
The focus on Asian businesses and manufacturers comes as a new trend has emerged from ZITF wherein foreign businesses are sending agents to represent them instead of coming to exhibit physically.
“What foreign producers have done is to appoint agents that are pushing into Zimbabwe their foreign products. It is pretty much in terms of physical representation where we might say they were not physically there,” Ncube said.
“But, while agents over the years have been coming into Zimbabwe from different countries supporting ZITF, we would also like to see the actual foreign visitor coming into the country.”
About 10% to 15% of the participation at this year’s ZITF came from the region and the rest was from the local market which was higher than previous years.
Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries president Sifelani Jabangwe said if international visitors and guests were to come back, what was needed was for value to be added into the mix.
“If we are to bring back the international visitors and guests we need to have value and this value should come from local businesses. Local businesses should indicate what it is they want to see at ZITF, exhibiting what it is that they have to offer. It is also the platform where we should be exhibiting what it is we should develop because in this world of today the product life cycle of a lot of goods that we have is so short,” Jabangwe said.
He said if industry did not step out and market their products they would be as good as dead.