BY MTHANDAZO NYONI
THE 60th edition of the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF) kicked-off on a high note yesterday in Bulawayo with more than 530 companies participating in this year’s trade showcase.
The show is running under the theme: “Propagating Industrial Growth through Trade and Investment” which according to the organisers, is a rallying call for industry and commerce to explore and cement synergies that promote trade and investment.
Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni is expected to officially open the fair on Friday.
ZITF board chairperson Ruth Ncube told journalists on Monday that the show had been oversubscribed.
“….participation figures for the exhibition are quite pleasing. Our targeted 2019 available space was taken up at 100%. Further to that, we availed 5% additional space (2 648m2) to accommodate the overflow,” she said.
Ncube said 532 direct local exhibitors have booked compared with 491 bookings at the same time last year.
“Of these, 16% are first-time exhibitors displaying a wide range of products and services including printing and packaging, tourism, education, education services and advocacy, agriculture equipment, media and advertising, ICT, food manufacturing, air-conditioning and refrigeration, furniture as well as clothing and textile,” she said.
She said in terms of geographical mix, 55% of confirmed local exhibitors are from Harare, 25% are from Bulawayo, 15% from other towns and 5% are foreign.
Sixteen countries are participating compared to 17 last year. These include Nigeria, Namibia, Mauritius, Botswana, Ethiopia, Malaysia, Japan, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa, Zambia, Belarus, Germany, United States of America and United Arab Emirates.
The five-day trade showcase will feature a packed programme of events aimed at engaging through dialogue, emerging business trends, opportunities and challenges facing business, and most critically, the interventions required to enhance economic performance.
Today over 800 delegates, including Finance and Economic Development minister Mthuli Ncube, are expected to attend the ZITF 2019 international business conference which aims to address issues of investment, infrastructural gaps, competitiveness and value chain linkages.
Vice-President Constantino Chiwenga will deliver the keynote address.
On Thursday the CZI/ZITF will host a buyer-seller platform breakfast. The Zimbabwe-Belarus Business Forum is also expected later in the day.
One of the local exhibitors, Millennium Footwear, expressed optimism that the fair would bring business to them.
“We are looking forward to have a successful trade fair whereby deals would be clinched and products marketed. We also expect to have an opportunity to interact with our clients as well as getting feedback from them,” the company’s director, Stuart Simali said.
ZimTrade is also facilitating six small to medium enterprises (SMEs) to showcase their products at this year’s trade fair under its capacity building programme — marketing and branding for international competitiveness.
The selected companies are from various sectors including clothing and textiles, decorative ware and crafts, processed foods and agricultural inputs.
“Last year, the ZimTrade pavilion was a hub of activity with many deals and partnerships being established. We anticipate that this year will be nothing less than that and we are hoping that our companies will shine,” ZimTrade chief executive, Allan Majuru said.