Bulawayo, the City of Kings and Queens, plays host to the 58th edition of the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF) which roars into life today.
Running under the theme, “Harnessing Linkages for Industrial Development”, the international trade showcase is expected to offer exposure to both trade and public visitors.
The ZITF will run till April 29 with April 25 to 27 being exclusive business days.
April 26 will see the hosting of the annual International Business Conference with renowned local and international speakers expected to address delegates at the indaba.
A high profile charity Golf Challenge will be held on April 27 while the ZITF will be officially opened on April 28 by Namibian President Hage Gottfried Geingob.
April 28 and 29 will be open to the general public.
Farmers will also be a focal point at the Bulawayo Agricultural Show which runs concurrently with the ZITF, as the trade showcase offers them the opportunity to penetrate the export market.
The ZITF is one of the largest intra-regional trade fairs south of the Sahara with the annual exhibition offering exposure to both trade and public visitors and providing a convenient trade hub for the region.
Its location in Bulawayo, the centre of southern Africa, is at the crossroads of the regional trade and transportation routes.
Various product groups including equipment, expertise for agricultural development, machinery and goods for infrastructural development, machinery and goods for value-addition in mining, manufacture, tourism, machinery and goods for ICT development, consultancy services and products for energy and water provision as well as investment in agriculture, tourism, mining and manufacture are expected to exhibit at the international trade showcase.
Visitors can expect to see exhibitions from Namibia, China, South Africa, Botswana, Brazil, Japan, Kenya, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Pakistan, Russia, Turkey and Zambia.
The call to harness linkages for industrial development is pertinent as it comes at a time when the revival of industry is at the top of the economic development agenda for Sadc and the African Union as the continent transitions to its own beneficiation and processing to extract full benefits from exporting processed and manufactured goods.
Considerable effort has already been made by the Government working with the business community to nurture this process as well as build and support industry by facilitating partnerships and linkages.
Trade shows were traditionally initiated for companies to showcase their products and services with the intention of educating their various publics on all aspects of their operations and as a platform to interact with long-term customers as well.
They were platforms companies used to show off their successes and to present the best exhibit against their competitors.