By Elita Chikwati
The Office of the President and Cabinet is preparing for Zimbabwe’s participation at the Dubai 2020 Expo with emphasis being on how different sectors should prepare adequately for the event.
The event will run for six months from October 20, 2020 to April 1, 2021 under the theme: “Connecting minds, Creating the future.”
With 25 million visitors expected over the six months and 70 percent of visitors coming from abroad, it is an opportunity for Zimbabwe to gain global exposure and participate in this worldwide exposition.
In an interview at the Zimbabwe Agricultural Show, OPC director Ambassador Mary Mubi said Expo 2020 Dubai offered a major platform for national branding, and a unique occasion to develop the country’s soft power across the Middle East Africa and South Asia region, as the country moves towards attaining Vision 2030.
“From promoting our diverse cultural and natural heritage, to enhancing the image of the country as a top tourist and investment destination, Zimbabwe will utilise Expo 2020 Dubai as a unique international platform to access global markets and attract foreign investment.
“The most important part was not about participation at the major event, but the preparatory work that different sectors should do to attract investors.
“We want various sectors during the six months at the Dubai Expo to showcase their opportunities. We are moving towards the national Vision 2030. We see our preparations for the Dubai expo as part and parcel of the journey in terms of creating projects that interest both investors and the diaspora. We can pin point where there is a niche, where a farmer or miner is looking for a market for investment.
“Participating at the event is not about just going to Dubai, but it’s the preparatory efforts that get us to reap the benefits. We are expecting 25 million visitors and we need special projects that can attract investors,” Ambassador Mubi said.
She said there were opportunities in horticulture, health and tourism.
“We have an incredible opportunity for health tourism in places such as Nyanga and Kariba, given our hot springs in Manicaland and Kariba among other areas.
“We have the Diaspora who are now doctors in the UK and we can attract them to set up special clinics which is what India did. While people may think of the expo as largely industrial, it is also cultural, for the arts and horticulture industries,” she said.
She said cities could also showcase their investment opportunities.
“While Zimbabwean pavilion will be showcasing variety of exhibitions across the board, we are thinking of mobilising as many stakeholders as we can,” she said.
She expressed concern that most small and medium enterprises were not on digital platform and there was need to ensure they set up websites to advertise.
“We have to prepare convincing packages in various sectors, we have different projects that we should market and need to capitalise on certain niches,” she said.
Zimbabwe’s chosen sub-theme is, “Opportunity” and the country pavilion will be located within the Opportunity Thematic District of the expo.
The celebration of Zimbabwe National Day during the expo will be held on March 14, 2021, and this will mark the highlight of the country’s exposition, with a varied national programme of events being planned for the day in order to give focus to the vast opportunities abound in the country.