Nqobile Tshili, Chronicle Reporter
AFRICAN countries should strengthen intra-continental trade and use it as a base to negotiate for better deals when trading with other regions hence the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF) could be used as a springboard to improve business opportunities.
ZITF is hosting its 61st edition, the biggest trade showcase in the region and attracted 10 international exhibitors despite the threat posed by Covid-19.
Some of the foreign exhibitors yesterday said the trade showcase has created business opportunities for them and it is important for Africa to strengthen regional trade.
Kenyan Deputy Ambassador Lazarus Muganda said when Africa broadens trade through platforms such as the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), it would be well positioned to trade better with the global market.
His sentiments come at a time when concerns have been raised that the continent is being exploited by other regions on trade related matters.
“It’s very important for Africa to trade among itself first of all. We have the numbers, we have the consumers in Africa, we do not need to consume products from outside. If we encourage intra-African trade that will increase our economies. That is why the AfCFTA is very important to expand our intra-African trade and we hope that going forward it will mature to a very strong area. We expect that AfCTA will be a springboard of ensuring when we trade with other countries outside Africa, we are going to do it as a block and we can negotiate and get better deals,” said Ambassador Muganda.
The Kenyan Embassy was showcasing some of its local products including its renowned coffee, beer among other products.
Ambassador Muganda said it was his hope that Kenyan companies could strike business deals with other nations that are participating at the ZITF.
“We are showcasing a number of Kenyan products from our manufacturers in Kenya because we know that ZITF gives such a platform just to enhance business for Kenya. We can make business opportunities for our manufacturers back at home,” said Ambassador Muganda.
Angolan oil company, Sonangol was among the first time exhibitors at ZITF and new business and partnerships office director Mr Daniel Moises Kandandji said ZITF has given them a platform to tap into new markets.
“We were invited by the Zimbabwe Embassy in Luanda to visit this fair. It’s an opportunity to showcase our products. We want Sonangol products to be well known and we want to make new business opportunities abroad and that is why we are here.
“We have never been here, it’s the first time we are here even with the Covid-19 challenges and we can say it’s a great opportunity and experience being here. We must congratulate the ZITF organisers for hosting the trade show case,” said Mr Kandandji.