ZITF roars to life

ZITF Company chairman Busisa Moyo

THE Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF) officially opens today in Bulawayo, with 25 direct exhibitors anticipated from 21 countries.

Organisers said this year’s theme, Transformative, Innovation, Global Competitiveness, sets the tone for conversations around Zimbabwe’s trade climate and innovating for global competitiveness.

The programme will cover a vast range of subject matter, including harnessing the power of technology to build a culture of innovation, creating a future-fit labour force, collaborative innovation as the bedrock of intra-Africa and international trade and much more.

Addressing a Press conference in Bulawayo yesterday, ZITF Company chairman Busisa Moyo said the international trade showcase would be officially opened by King Mswati III of Eswatini on Friday.

“The international response to our call has also been pleasing with 25 direct exhibits expected from 21 foreign nations, representing both nation participation and individual companies. This compares favourably to the 2022 edition where 16 direct exhibitors from 13 countries took part in the show,” Moyo said.

The countries represented are Angola, Belarus, Botswana, China, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Netherlands, Nigeria, South Africa, Sweden, Tanzania, United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, the United States and Zambia.

In terms of local participation, Moyo said 65% of the confirmed exhibitors are from Harare, while Bulawayo-based companies account for 21%.

Representation from other cities around the country is currently at 14%.

The exhibitor profile is quite varied with a range of products and services that include agricultural implements and equipment; automotive products, building and construction; civic representation; clothing and textiles; education and training; energy products and equipment; food products manufacturing and processing; business tourism products and services; information communication and technology; medical or health related products; mining equipment; pharmaceuticals; and chemicals.

“Current figures have us sitting at 533 exhibitors and 46 631 sqm of sold exhibition space, which converts 97% of available exhibition space. This compares favourably to last year’s closing total of space occupied which was 45 786 square metres,” Moyo said.

To cater for the increased demand, Moyo said organisers have also had to be innovative in managing space by converting previously unused areas to exhibition sites.

Over 600 delegates are expected to attend the ZITF International Business Conference hosted by ZITF in conjunction with the National Economic Consultative Forum, which will take place tomorrow.

Vice-President Constantino Chiwenga is expected to be the guest of honour.

The second edition of the Connect Africa Symposium will be held under the theme Unlocking Africa’s Potential: Innovation, Competitiveness and Sustainable Development.

On Thursday, more than 300 delegates from across the region are expected to attend the event which will feature a keynote address by African Continental Free Trade Area secretary-general Wamkele Mene.

The symposium will be officially opened by Chiwenga.

Moyo said ZITF 2023 will also centre the youth in the discourse on innovation and global competitiveness through youth-focused programming such as the ZITF Innovators’ Forum.

He said innovations from across four thematic tracks, namely agriculture, energy, ICTs, and the informal sector, will be spotlighted during the pitch and hackathon competitions.

“The official proceedings will commence tomorrow with Crafting Dreams day, where youth entrepreneurship, managing finances, personal development and branding, as well as mental health awareness, will be the topics of discussion.

“The second day is a dedicated STEM Day focusing on aviation, space engineering, digital skills as well as climate change. The Scholastica Indaba will be held on Thursday and will feature (Higher and Tertiary Education minister) Amon Murwira as the guest of honour,” he said.

“The last two days of the exhibition April 27 to 28 will be open to the public to allow them an opportunity to sample the displays by local and international exhibitors. Additionally, an exciting entertainment programme has been put together to cater for the whole family,” Moyo said.

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