By Eunice Masunungure
IT is a truth universally acknowledged that visibility is key to a business’ success which makes it easy to contend that Zimbabwe is creating new partners and attracting more investors at the Dubai Expo 2020, which started on October 1 2021 and is set to end on March 31 2022 in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
Zimbabwe is participating among nations, multilateral organisations as well as businesses and educational institutions.
World expos are traditional international events offering opportunities for networking and promoting international relationships.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa in the Zimbabwe National Trade Policy Vision and Export Promotion Strategy (Page 1) said trade is the engine for economic growth: “Government will continue to engage in formal trade negotiations at bilateral, regional and multilateral levels with trading partners to promote and advance Zimbabwe’s trade interests.
I urge all stakeholders to embrace the news Zimbabwe National Trade Policy Vision and Export Promotion Strategy road-map towards the 7:14 exports targets of US$7 billion by 2023 and US$14 billion by 2030, in order to facilitate the attainment of the National Vision of an upper-middle income economy by 2030.”
Dubai Expo 2020 matters as a visibility platform for Zimbabwe, especially considering where the country is coming from and seeks to go.
The country has set in motion plans to increase total exports by at least 10 percent annually from US$4 billion in 2018 to US$7 billion by 2023 and US$14 billion by 2030.
The latest trade statistics released by the ZimStat reveal that for the period between January and May 2021, the country’s exports stood at US$2,2 billion, which is a 31,4 percent increase compared to US$1,53 billion recorded same period 2020.
At the Dubai Expo, the Zimbabwe pavilion has four main zones which are our heritage, our land of abundant opportunities, our human capital base and our future.
Zimbabwe is exhibiting its wonders that can vastly improve the country’s fortunes.
Showcased, among other things, is the Victoria Falls, people and culture, our rich history and heritage, the Great Zimbabwe, pristine wildlife and nature, the mighty Zambezi River and the mythical Kariba, as well as the mystique Eastern Highlands.
The Dubai Expo 2020 is connecting the country to progressive nations wishing to do business in Zimbabwe.
The expo was originally scheduled to run from October 20 2020 to April 10 2021 but was postponed due to COVID-19 pandemic and thus retained the name Dubai Expo 2020 for marketing and branding purposes.
More than 190 countries are taking part in the first such event to be held in the Middle East and an estimated 50 million visitors will come from across the globe.
Zimbabwe is participating in a bid to promote and unpack the country’s Vision 2030, trade and investment opportunities, attract visitors and clarify the country’s development policies.
The country is also using the platform to unpack the country’s ‘open for business’ mantra using tangible examples as well as to source markets and opportunities for technology transfer, tourism, and human capacity development.
These platforms have been a boon for the country which has been ravaged by more than two decades of illegal sanctions imposed by Britain and the US.
For instance, more than US$15 million worth of business was generated from Zimbabwe’s participation in the following trade promotions events; DRC Outward Mission (US$8 million), Dubai Outward Mission (US$3 million) and Zimbabwe Solo Exhibition in Malawi (US$2 million), among many more.
Although the main export contributors are minerals, alloys and tobacco, there are some sectors that include clothing, footwear and textiles which have made significant contribution to exports.
Zimbabwe is now one of the world’s biggest producers of gold and the third biggest producer of platinum after Russia and South Africa.
Thus, Dubai Expo and all its inside meetings is an ideal platform for a nation witnessing many successes despite efforts by our erstwhile colonisers to frustrate development efforts.
Despite the illegal sanctions, the country is on a growth trajectory and celebrating successes like the emergency road rehabilitation programme, increased youth involvement in agriculture and upward growth of the economy with over 7,8 percent economic growth projection.
All this has been accompanied by a successful agriculture season boosting export earnings.
Zimbabwe has rubbed shoulders with other nations at the Lubumbashi Trade and Investment Mission, Zimbabwe-Malawi Trade exhibition 2021, also known as the Solo Exhibition from July 12 to 14 2021, the trade mission in Kinshasa, the DRC, from September 14 to 16 2021 as well as Zimbabwe Trade and Investment Conference in Kigali, Rwanda.
Zimbabwe is determined to forge its path to success in partnership with progressive nations and institutions and will not be deterred by Western and European countries seeking to destabilise it.