Oliver Kazunga — Bulawayo Bureau
KENYA President Uhuru Kenyatta will officially open this year’s Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF) to be held in Bulawayo next month.
The 62nd edition of the ZITF, will be held from April 26 to 30 under the theme, “Rethink, Reimagine, Reinvent Value Chains for Economic Development.”
In a statement, ZITF board chairman Busisa Moyo said: “The ZITF Company board is pleased to announce that His Excellency Uhuru Kenyatta, the President of the Republic of Kenya has graciously accepted the invitation from our patron HE President Mnangagwa to officiate at the official opening ceremony of the 62nd edition of the ZITF taking place on Friday 29 April 2022.”
He said the existing level of trade and the potential opportunities for trade between Zimbabwe and Kenya was favourable with the 2020 trade map statistics highlighting Kenya as an export market for Zimbabwean cereals, sugar, wood and wood articles.
In turn, the ZITF Company chairman said Zimbabwe benefited from Kenya’s animal and vegetable fat, plastics, electronic products and equipment industries.
“We look forward to using President Kenyatta’s visit and participation by a business delegation from Kenya to make new connections and develop this relationship further for the mutual benefit of our economies,” said Mr Moyo.
He said the return of the international, multi-sectoral trade showcase to its traditional calendar placement symbolised the normalisation of life and business after a trying two years.
The ZITF traditional calendar was disturbed by the Covid-19 pandemic and the return of the trade showcase to its usual calendar repositions the expo as the definitive meeting place for people, ideas and organisations which birth and shape Zimbabwe’s economic trajectory.
Over the last few weeks, Mr Moyo said, they dispatched high-level representation on roadshow to meet with most of the foreign diplomatic missions based in Zimbabwe, key Government ministries and departments as well as representatives of industry and commerce as part of the ZITF promotion strategy.
“In addition to delivering in-person invitations to the trade show, the engagements have enabled us to glean finger-on-the-pulse insights on market expectations for the ZITF platform. Generally, feedback has been positive and constructive with all the embassies visited confirming their participation in this year’s show in a number of ways including exhibiting, attending and participating in the various concurrent networking and knowledge-sharing platforms,” he said.
“The private sector has also responded positively regarding this year’s show and is set to leverage the opportunity to display to the market the various innovations, new products and services which they have been working on over the past two years and to demonstrate an understanding of opportunities within the value chains in which they operate”
To date 332 direct exhibitors have booked 41 037 square metres of exhibition space in the show.
The above figure represents 87 percent of the space made available for sale (43 167sqm).
Mr Moyo said 28 of the direct exhibitors that have so far confirmed participation at the trade fair are exhibiting for the first time.
“They will be displaying a diverse range of products and services including building and construction, security, medical and health products, financial services, energy and advocacy. International exhibitors from six foreign nations have thus far booked exhibition stands namely: Angola, Japan, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia and South Africa.
“We expect this number to increase in the coming weeks as more confirmations continue to come in.”
This year’s ZITF International Business Conference (IBC), which is organised in conjunction with the National Economic Consultative Forum will take place on Tuesday 27 April running under the same theme as the trade fair.
This, Mr Moyo said is meant to encourage candid discussion on the progress towards structural transformation and moving the economy up the value chain in line with the National Development Strategy 1 (NDS1).
“The Vice President, Honourable Gen (retired) Dr Chiwenga will headline the conference. This year we launch the inaugural Connect Africa Symposium, a half-day platform for various African stakeholders to present their research, share experiences, highlight opportunities and discuss possible Pan-African solutions to challenges in areas such as technology, investment and infrastructure development in the continent,” he said.
The high-level event, which is expected to attract regional speakers and participants will take place on Thursday 28 April.
“Rounding up the day and closing off the business days will be the second edition of the ZITF Diplomats Forum, a high-level cocktail-style event focused on strengthening existing relations between Zimbabwe and its international allies by enabling participating diplomats and delegates to discuss trade and investment opportunities in Zimbabwe,” said Mr Moyo.