Byo firms take up 21% of ZITF space

Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF)

BULAWAYO companies account for 21% of exhibitors that have confirmed participation at this year’s Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF).

ZITF board chairperson Busisa Moyo announced on Tuesday that  nearly 97% of exhibition space had been taken, with only 21% of the exhibitors coming from Bulawayo.

“In terms of local participation, 65% of the confirmed exhibitors came from Harare, while Bulawayo-based companies accounted for 21%. Representation from other cities around the country is currently 14,” Busisa said.

The annual trade show will run from April 25 to 29 under the theme: Transformative Innovation, Global Competitiveness.

As in previous years, a big number of Bulawayo companies have been failing to participate at the ZITF.

Bulawayo, once regarded as the country’s industrial hub — has suffered serious de-industrialisation as companies either downsized operations, relocated to the capital or closed shop altogether.

Economic commentator Reginald Shoko said the ZITF remained relevant, but with limited benefits to Bulawayo industries as witnessed by minimal participation of local companies.

“The local industry is struggling due to a number of challenges ranging from water, electricity shortages and the ZITF of late has not been attracting large numbers of international exhibitors which attracts the locals to exhibit in hope of business opportunities. And the prices being charged for exhibitions are a bit on the heavy side for locals,” Shoko also noted.

Countries that are participating at this year’s ZITF include Angola, Belarus, Botswana, China, France, Germany, Iran, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Netherlands, Nigeria, South Africa, Sweden, Tanzania, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States and Zambia.

Moyo said 533 direct exhibitors had confirmed participation, a 27% increase from 420 recorded last year.

“This figure includes 108 new exhibitors, indicating an 80% retention rate on traditional exhibiting organisations,” he said.

“To date, ZITF 2023 will feature 25 direct exhibits from 21 nations, representing both nation participation and individual companies.”

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