More countries expected at this year’s ZITF

25 Mar, 2024 - 00:03 0 Views
More countries expected at this year’s ZITF the 2024 theme has been expanded to, “Innovation: The Catalyst to Industrialisation and Trade.”

eBusiness Weekly

Oliver Kazunga

The number of countries participating at this year’s Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF) is expected to surpass last year’s total of 21 on the back of serious engagements that have been done to promote trade and investment by public and private sector players.

The 64th edition of the trade showcase will be held in Bulawayo from April 23 to 27 under the theme, “Entrepreneurship: The Catalyst for Industrialisation and Trade”.

Speaking by telephone on Friday, ZITF Company chairman, Busisa Moyo, said judging by the level of interest the show has generated regionally and internationally, the number of foreign nations participating at the upcoming trade fair would surpass the 2023 figure.

“We are expecting in excess of 21 countries to participate. Judging by the level of interest this year’s event has generated locally and outside the country, I think we have ourselves quite a decent international flavour, we have a lot more private sector players as well. We have 65 new exhibitors so far, and people are still coming in looking for last minute bookings.

“So, the private sector to public sector ratio is much higher and all positive differences as we seek to have international value,” he said.

So far, 19  nations that include Belarus, Germany, Italy, France, Iran, Japan, Netherlands, Romania, Sweden, the United Kingdom, the United States of America, South Korea, Zambia, Botswana, South Africa, Malawi, Kenya and Mozambique will be represented at this year’s trade fair.

“The size of exhibition and in terms of investment that these countries are making are much bigger than last year from what we are seeing because we are still at preliminary stages – a month away, but from what we are seeing the investments are much higher than previous years and we have in excess of 21 countries that will be coming and this is positive.

“We have delegations like the EU (European Union), which is coming as a bloc,” Moyo said, adding that the ZITF Company encourages the nations to bring the private sector players alongside with them.

The first three days of the show will be strictly business-to-business trade period while the last two will be open to the general public.

ZITF is the country’s premier business expo where various industries and sectors showcase their products and services to the international market.

He said the official to open this year’s trade fair would be announced in due course as consultations are ongoing.

Major highlights of the show include the ZITF International Business Conference slated for the second day of the trade fair.

The high-level half-day conference is organised by the ZITF Company in conjunction with the National Economic Consultative Forum (NECF).

Key industry players and entrepreneurs look forward to insightful discussions on the impact of entrepreneurship on industrialisation and trade, identification of opportunities for international collaboration and investment, among others.

The ZITF 2024 Diplomats Forum, which is organised in partnership with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, will also be part of the major highlights of the trade fair.

And the Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce (ZNCC) is expected to host its business luncheon at the trade fair.

“We are looking forward to also hosting some colleagues from Belarus as they will also be exhibiting. We will also invite our colleagues from other countries and other sister chambers of commerce, the Belarusian people will be there, business people will be there and what we want to see is them engaging our local business people, so that they partner and do business.

“There are so many areas of partnership, be it partnering for the purposes of supplying each other with equipment, for retooling,” said the ZNCC president Mike Kamungeremu.

“There may actually be customers that may buy from our people as they import products from Zimbabwe. They may also bring the much-needed capital and become partners to perform joint ventures with our people. We are from a Memorandum of Understanding level, now we are taking it to a transacting level.”

Last year, ZNCC and the Belarusian Chamber of Commerce signed an MoU to strengthen bilateral trade and investment relations that existed between Zimbabwe and Belarus.

In March 2018, Zimbabwe and Belarus signed an MoU on Economic and Trade Cooperation and to date the two countries have signed agreements to consolidate relations in various areas of cooperation.

“The theme for this year’s business luncheon is: ‘Entrepreneurship, the catalyst for industrialisation and trade’.

“So this year, the ZITF as well as the luncheon will be showcasing opportunities there for entrepreneurs, which is the driving force behind innovation, job creation, and sustainable development.  This year’s theme underscores the pivotal role that entrepreneurs play in driving economic growth, fostering innovation, and propelling industrialisation and trade.

“We expect that the luncheon will be graced by our Minister of Industry and Commerce, and we also anticipate the Ambassador to Zimbabwe from Belarus to also attend that event,” said Kamungeremu.

The Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI) president Kurai Matsheza said the ZITF has always been a premier event and thus as industry there are looking forward to engaging with Government authorities at the International Business Conference while also interacting with international speakers.

“The international exhibitors are also critical as they show case their wares and machinery where our members can tie up business relationships.

“More importantly, it will be our members’ business opportunities outside Zimbabwe that need to be unlocked to grow our exports as a country,” he said.

In 2023, Zimbabwe’s total value of exported goods grew by nearly 10 percent to US$7,2 billion from US$6,59 billion the previous year.

Although the country’s exports continue to be dominated by minerals and commodity exports, the export basket witnessed notable growth in other shipments, particularly from the manufacturing sector which registered a 22 percent growth.

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