Hebert Zharare, Harare Bureau
Preparations for the 59th edition of the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF), have gathered pace with the organisation having written to President Emmerson Mnangagwa to officially open the international trade showcase in Bulawayo.
Namibian President Hage Geingob, officially opened last year’s edition of the Zitf.
This comes as more countries that used to exhibit at the trade extravaganza, but had stopped for various reasons, have indicated interest to exhibit this year from the 24th to the 28th of April.
In written responses, the ZITF Company general manager, Nomathemba Ndlovu, said the overwhelming responses from exhibitors saw the company increasing exhibition space from 48 400 square metres last year to 51,400 this year.
This year’s edition of the ZITF runs under the theme “Sustainable Industrial Development – Inclusive, Competitive and Collaborative.
“His Excellency, Cde Emmerson D Mnangagwa has been invited to officiate at this year’s show. The marketing and sales campaign for the show has reached its peak and market response has been quite pleasing. Because of overwhelming demand, we have increased the amount of space being used for exhibition purposes from 48 400 square metres in 2017 to 51 400 this year. Of this, 87 percent has been booked to date.
In terms of exhibitor number, there are 359 direct exhibitors compared to 266 at the same time last year, reflecting a 40 percent increase.
“We have also seen an increase in the number of new exhibitors as 18 percent of the 359 direct exhibitors who have confirmed participation will be participating for the first time. This is, to us pleasing because it is indicative of an improved trading environment and commitment to re-engage with the international community,” said Ndlovu.
To date 11 foreign countries have booked space including Botswana, Ethiopia, Indonesia, Japan, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa and Zambia, while Cyprus and India will be represented by individual companies from the respective countries. The ZITF Company has since last year, been engaged in meetings with diplomats based in Zimbabwe and representing target countries from Sadc, South America, Asia and previously dormant markets such as Europe and North America for them to participate in the trade show.
“We anticipate that the outcome of these meetings will see increased representation from these countries in terms of exhibition displays and business delegations. In addition to the confirmed foreign bookings, we have provisional bookings from Angola, Egypt, Ghana and Pakistan. Egypt and Pakistan used to be regular exhibitors in the past whilst Angola has never been represented at Zitf,” she said.
Following the new dispensation, where President Mnangagwa has declared Zimbabwe open for investment, there is high prospects of business boom in the country, calling for more accommodation and conferences facilities.