The Sunday News
Dumisani Nsingo, Senior Business Reporter
THE Government has identified the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF) as one of the main platforms to engage the international community as it forges ahead to attract foreign investors to participate in the revival of the country’s economy.
Officially launching the 2019 ZITF marketing campaign on Thursday in Harare, Industry and Commerce Minister Mangaliso Ndlovu said as the country works towards attaining an upper middle-income economic by 2030 it was of paramount importance to open up for business.
“As Zimbabwe works towards becoming a prosperous and empowered upper middle-income society by 2030, the Government has, through the Transitional Stabilisation Programme, highlighted the need to open the economy for business. This will entail, among other things, significant reforms such as improving the ease of doing business, improving competitiveness, and opening the country to international investors and financiers. To this end the Ministry of Industry and Commerce has identified the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair as a key platform for us to engage the international community as we seek to strengthen linkages which are pivotal to us achieving our desired economic growth rate trajectory,” said Minister Ndlovu.
He said ZITF should not be “a demonstrative theatre for Zimbabwean businesses” but it should thrive to offer investment prospects, learning content and consultative opportunities that are imperative to the national development agenda.
“From a Government perspective, we continue to rely on the trade showcase for a bird’s eye view snapshot of the economy that describes our markets, shows actual trends and opens up new business opportunities.
“We are therefore pleased to note that preparations for the 60th consecutive edition of the annual ZITF have officially begun with the launch of the show’s marketing and promotion campaign,” said Minister Ndlovu.
Next year’s diamond jubilee trade show will run from 23 to 27 April under the theme, “Propagating Industrial Growth through Trade and Investment.”
“The theme is a rallying call for industry and commerce to participate in the trade showcase to explore and cement synergies that promote trade and investment. Coming at a time when Zimbabwe has embarked on an economic reconstruction agenda that places emphasis on re-engagement with the international community, ZITF 2019 will provide an opportune engagement platform between and among trading and co-operating partners, potential investors, international and local business people,” said Minister Ndlovu.
The ZITF Company has already started embarking on an aggressive international exhibitor and visitor drive that complements Government’s investment and international trade vision.
“Over the past month, ZITF Company officials have been conducting personal visits to foreign diplomatic missions in Zimbabwe to invite exhibitors, business visitor delegations as well as participants in the concurrent networking sessions.
Encouraging feedback was received during the meetings, reflecting strong interest for both regional and international trade with Zimbabwe,” said Minister Ndlovu.
Countries that have shown keen interest in participating at next year’s exhibition but are still to confirm their bookings include Botswana, Brazil, China, Ethiopia, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Iran, Japan, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Pakistan, Russia and Zambia.
“The network of international sales agents is also actively attracting participants from more markets. The company continues to seek linkages with world-wide Chambers of Commerce and Industry to encourage their members to bring appropriate technology to Zimbabwe. Next week (this week), ZITF Company will be part of the Zimbabwe delegation participating in the Intra African Trade Fair taking place in Cairo Egypt. The lined engagements are part of the overall strategy to attract quality international exhibitors that will result in improved export market diversification and access to new markets for our country,” said Minister Ndlovu.
To date a total of 138 exhibitors have confirmed their participation for 2019. Sectors represented include: services (health, education and business), manufacturing (food, chemicals), building and construction, Government, Information Communication T, media and printing, Small and Medium Enterprises, agriculture, mining, local authorities and transport among others. In terms of space uptake, 49 631 square metres have been made available for sale. Of this, 63,7 percent has been taken up compared to 59 percent sold at the same time last year.