ORGANISERS of the 52nd edition of the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF) in Bulawayo have described the just ended exhibition as nothing short of a success. ZITF is a multi-sector and multi-national trade exhibition which sees various companies from the growing markets of Africa and beyond meeting in Zimbabwe for the showcase. This year, the exhibition was for the first time since 1980 officially opened by a business executive, the president of the Africa Import and Export Bank (AfreximBank) Jean Louis Ekra, in a move aimed at mobilising lines of credit for the industrial sector. Trade and Economic Planning Minister Welshman Ncube, who announced this year’s shift, said the decision was meant to refocus the annual exhibition into a proper trade showcase. This year, a lot of companies from Zimbabwe’s engineering, mining, manufacturing and banking sectors, including others from 14 countries attended the showcase. Exhibitors from Germany, South Africa, Mozambique, Indonesia, Iran, Kenya, Zambia, Malawi, Namibia, Ghana, Turkey and Botswana among other countries came to participate in the exhibition which ran concurrently with the A’Sambeni Tourism and Travel Expo. In a press statement released to The Patriot and signed by ZITF’s General Manager, Mr Daniel Chigaru, stated that this year’s exhibition was nothing short of the success they had hoped for. The statement discloses that the showcase registered 12 more exhibitors compared to last year’s 822 exhibitors. It also states that a total of 193 delegates participated in an International Business Conference organised by ZITF Company in conjunction with the National Economic Consultative Forum. The conference was held under the theme ‘Optimising Growth Synergies in an Emerging Investment Destination: Turning Opportunities into Value’. It attracted international speakers, among them South Africa’s Kerin Alain Bertrand, the regional director of the Middle East and Africa ISI Emerging markets. Mr Chigaru also said close to 51 362 square metres was occupied, more than the 48 179 square metres used last year. The General Manager rates the exhibition as an overall success due to the quality of stands and exhibits which he said were good. He revealed that from a set target of 98 percent exhibition space usage, the company’s goal was achieved. Mr Chigaru added that a total of 660 local exhibitors and 174 foreign exhibitors showcased their different products at the ZITF. The company has also announced dates for this year’s Mine Entra 2011 which will be held under the theme ‘Exploring Business Synergies in Mining, Engineering & Transport’. This year’s ZITF ran under the theme ‘Optimising Business Synergies-Now and Beyond’.