Prince Sunduzani, Business Reporter
BUSINESS leaders are optimistic that improved international and domestic investor sentiment under the new dispensation will yield positive trade gains at this year’s Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF).
Bulawayo will host the 59th edition of the country’s prime trade showcase at the Zimbabwe International Exhibition Centre, from Tuesday to Saturday next week, under the theme, “Sustainable Industrial Development: Inclusive, Competitive, Collaborative”.
President Mnangagwa will officially open the event, which has already registered overwhelming local and foreign exhibitors, forcing organisers to expand exhibition space.
In separate interviews, businesses leaders called on local exhibitors to capitalise on the event to aggressively market their products and services.
A total of 18 countries have confirmed their participation so far with the United Arab Emirates (UAE), coming on board for the first time. Association for Business in Zimbabwe (ABUZ) chief executive, Mr Victor Nyoni, advised exhibitors to prioritise secure investors with financial muscle as most local businesses were struggling with capital. “There is renewed appetite to participate in the Zimbabwean economy by a number of economic actors. Our local businesses should not miss the opportunity to interact with others. It’s an opportunity for our members,” he said.
“ZITF should focus on creating collaborative spaces for businesses. I will encourage our own members to look for partners with deep pockets with whom they can clinch deals around issues of accessing funding for their projects since the major challenge.”
Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI) president, Mr Sifelani Jabangwe, said that companies should make meaningful partnerships with equipment suppliers to drive the retooling process.
He said as CZI, they were looking to engage with buyers from outside the country to unlock export opportunities, which will earn the country the much needed foreign currency. “We are hoping to engage with companies that will buy our products for us to export because the key component for industry is to grow exports so that we reduce the challenge of foreign currency. We want to see increased aggression both in terms of the engagements and in terms of follow ups because it has been highlighted before that this is where companies fail post the fair.
“Also one can assume that they are known, but if you don’t make yourself visible what will happen is that the market will forget about you and others will take away your market,” said Mr Jabangwe.
The trade fair is set to boost business earnings for Bulawayo across sectors with hoteliers already saying their facilities are fully booked ahead of the event.
Transporters among other service providers are also set to make a killing. — @PrinceNkosy102