More foreign exhibitors at ZITF…with local interest also high

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FOREIGN participation at this year’s edition of the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF) is expected to increase, driven by the re-engagement process Government has initiated.
The 59th edition of the trade show will take place from April 24-28 under the theme, ‘Sustainable industrial development — inclusive, competitive and collaborative’.
The theme aligns itself to the national agenda of pursuing industrialisation as the key to economic growth and development.
Since the new dispensation, Zimbabwe has been on a charm offensive across the globe, seeking economic and political re-engagement with international partners to normalise relations with key global economic giants.
Upon assuming office in November last year, President Emmerson Mnangagwa said Zimbabwe is charting a new path that embraces all countries of the world.
Apart from meeting several regional heads of state, President Mnangagwa also participated at the recently concluded World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
For the first time this year, Zimbabwe was invited to the forum.
Former coloniser, Britain, which had literally cut ties with Zimbabwe over several issues including the Land Redistribution Programme, is warming up to the administration.
British Minister for Africa and Department for International Development (DFID) Harriet Baldwin was in the country, the second high profile visit by a top official from London in almost two decades.
And Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is expected in the country this week to cement bilateral relations between Harare and Moscow.
US Ambassador to Zimbabwe Harry Thomas said his office is being inundated with requests from Americans wanting to come to do business in the country.
He said a delegation from the White House will be here in the country in February while congressmen and senators will come in March.
Speaking at a press conference last week, Minister of Industry and Commerce Mike Bimha said foreign participation is expected to increase.
“The 2018 event takes place against a backdrop of Zimbabwe’s re-engagement with the international community and genuine shared excitement about the country’s economic outlook,” said Minister Bimha.
Over 76 percent of the available exhibition space has already been taken up.
“To date, 34 034 square metres have been taken up by a total of 168 exhibitors,” said Min Bimha.
“These statistics compare favourably to the booking situation at the same time last year
(29 600 square metres taken by 156 exhibitors).
“Of the 168 exhibitors, 12 percent are newcomers who will be displaying automation equipment, energy products, building and construction as well as clothing and textiles. 
“Foreign exhibitor interest is said to be high, with confirmed foreign representation coming from Ethiopia, Japan, India and South Africa.”
The ZITF Company has been locked in meetings with 30 foreign heads of mission based in Zimbabwe with a view to encouraging businesspeople in their countries to consider participating at this year’s fair.
Southern African Development Community (SADC) countries and those from South America, Asia, Europe and North America, have already been approached. 
Minister Bimha said the ZITF Company is working closely with trade promotion bodies and chambers of commerce in Brazil, China, India, Egypt and Japan, as it seeks to grow this year’s fair.
“We are hopeful for a speedy conclusion to these discussions, culminating in trade investment delegations from the aforementioned countries during ZITF 2018,” said Minister Bimha.
He said local interest in the show has been high, particularly from enterprises that wish to showcase their home grown industrial and technological solutions.
“As the country continues on its sustainable industrial development trajectory, ZITF 2018 will be an ideal platform for individuals, companies and communities with bankable investment projects to showcase them to potential investors and partners,” said Min Bimha.
“Preparations for the 59th edition of the ZITF are gaining momentum and the organisers are upbeat and charged with positivity for a successful show.”
ZITF is running a 10 percent discount promotion on full payment of floor space rental for ZITF 2018 which was an appreciation by the ZITF Company to the exhibitors.
Minister Bimha said there was need to relook at the accommodation charges in the city, especially during the fair.
“The challenge that we have is on accommodation. The challenge is on the charges obtaining during the ZITF show. We have complaints from exhibitors that the charges are too high compared to their countries,” he said.
Minister Bimha said he would meet with the Ministry of Tourism and Hospitality Industry to look at accommodation charges.
“As Zimbabwe, we are now looking at a new era. We want to attract as much investment as possible. We want to say, look, Zimbabwe is ready for business and want to encourage our service providers to charge reasonable prices as we create our image and get people to be regular participants,” said the Minister.
“We will be engaging our colleagues in the Ministry of Tourism and Hospitality Industry to assist us in passing this message to service providers.”

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