TENDAI BHEBE IN BULAWAYO
Ten countries have so far confirmed their participation at this year’s edition of the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF) which kicks off in Bulawayo on Tuesday, Business Times can report.
The prime showcase, which is expected to be officially opened by President Emmerson Mnangagwa, kicks off next week Tuesday and runs up to Friday at the Zimbabwe International Exhibition Centre in Bulawayo.
It will run under the theme ‘Showcasing the New Normal for Business and Industry: Realities and Opportunities’.
ZITF chairman, Busisa Moyo, (pictured) who spoke at a press conference at the Zimbabwe International Exhibition Centre on Tuesday this week, confirmed the development.
“The 10 countries that are going to participate are Botswana, DRC, Indonesia, Kenya, Malawi, Mauritius, Namibia, Nigeria, South Africa and Tanzania.
About 357 direct exhibitors have booked and confirmed participation on 40,109square metres of exhibition space,” Moyo said.
He added: “Of these, 11% are first-time exhibitors displaying a wide range of products and services including automobile and automotive equipment, industrial hemp, financial services and fintech, medical equipment, real estate and property development, consultancy and advocacy, mining equipment, cosmetic and toiletries as well as clothing and textile.
“In terms of geographical mix 62% of confirmed local exhibitors are from Harare, 25% are from Bulawayo, 10% from other towns and 3% from foreign countries,” he said.
Moyo said with one week to go, the ZITF Company was ready to once again host one of the leading trade showcases in Southern African region.
“The exhibition centre is already a hive of activity as exhibitors finalise their stand preparations ahead of the start of the show next week, “ Moyo said.
He said participants in this year’s show can expect to experience a more compact but highly focused show offering constructive engagements, useful insights and invaluable networking opportunities.
“The pandemic has not only disrupted life as we know it, but also upended international economic development. We are at a very critical point in dealing with both the pandemic and long term effects, therefore it is crucial to host the show at this point in time, in an attempt to bring normalcy and stability to business, industry and the national economy,” Moyo said.
He added: “Going forward, international trade and strategic business, transactions will be essential to the economic recovery and development of Zimbabwe and its allies.
“The theme therefore locates ZITF as a relevant platform for sharing trade, investment and market information by enabling buyers and sellers, investors and countries to meet, discuss and conclude business deals.
“The countries and nation states that are able to re-open their economies and engage their private sectors are likely to have a first mover advantage even after Covid-19 is long gone.
“This will require Covid-safe measures as well as courage and collaboration with health sectors.”
He ensured the business community that the health safety protocols have been established under the advice of public health authorities.
“Robust health safety protocols have been established under the advice of public health authorities, particularly the Ministry of Health and Child Care and the Bulawayo City Council.
“We have also enlisted the help of the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority and key players in the business tourism such as hotels and airlines in communicating and enforcing health and safety protocols outside the exhibition centre.
“In addition to vaccinating, over the past few weeks our team have been undergoing training and working hard to ensure that we have the human and enforcing health and safety protocols outside the exhibition centre.
“In addition to vaccinating, over the past few weeks our teams have been undergoing training and working hard to ensure that we have the human and system capabilities to deliver not only a successful but a Covid-19 safe show.
“All exhibitors, vendors, service providers and conference delegates will be required to produce a negative Covid-19 test result taken within 48 hours of the beginning of the show.
“One-day visitors do not need to take a test as they will spend limited time at the show and will be under close monitoring by Covid 19 police.
Additionally, no children fewer than 18 will be allowed, “he said.
Last year, ZITF was suspended following the outbreak of Covid-19.