Oliver Kazunga, Senior Business Reporter
THE 58th edition of the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF) began on a high note yesterday with 367 direct exhibitors participating compared to last year’s closing total of 354.
Addressing a press conference at the Zimbabwe International Exhibition Centre in Bulawayo yesterday, ZITF Company chairperson Mrs Ruth Ncube said they would give final statistics on the last day of the show after accounting for indirect exhibitors.
“The 58th edition of the ZITF began this morning on a lively note as we welcomed the arrival of the majority of our stakeholders, including exhibitors, visitors and delegates. We are pleased to note that, barring the bustle associated with the first day of a show, our guests had hassle free entrance into the exhibition centre,” she said.
“In terms of exhibitor numbers, as at this morning (yesterday), 367 direct exhibitors are participating. This is slightly up from last year’s closing total of 354.”
This year’s trade fair, running under the theme, “Harnessing Linkages for Industrial Development,” would be officially opened by Namibian President Hage Geingob on Friday.
Mrs Ncube said the showcase’s theme puts particular emphasis on developing and nurturing existing relationships across the economy so as to attain sustainable development.
“It (theme) is an effort to move the country towards fulfilling the Sadc Industrialisation Strategy and Roadmap, which is premised on the conviction that industrialisation is the key to unlocking Africa’s economic potential,” she said.
Mrs Ncube said particular emphasis had been placed on increasing participant engagement while setting aside areas for matchmaking and business networking in the halls.
“In line with this year’s theme, we have invited international business delegations and potential investors to meet local industry players during the annual fair to encourage business linkages and promote industrial development,” she said.
ZITF traditional exhibitors are particularly from Sadc, North Africa, Middle East and Europe. Participating countries include Botswana, Ethiopia, China, Indonesia, Iran, Japan, Kenya, Germany, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia and South Africa.
“We have a fair representation from the international community with Senegal making a maiden appearance at the show,” she said.
Highlights of the five-day event include the first three days of the show that are dedicated for business-to-business exchange as well as the ZITF International Business Conference today.
Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa will be the guest of honour at the forum where over 400 delegates have confirmed participation. The Original Equipment Manufacturers Forum will also be held tomorrow.
“As always, the Bulawayo Agricultural Show will be running concurrently with the ZITF. This year, the show boasts of high quality entries especially in the cattle category with three new breeds on display,” she said.
A’Sambeni Africa Business Tourism Expo, Ultimate Home, Pakprint and Scholastica are the other sector-specific exhibitions running concurrently with the ZITF.