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Zimbabwe: Trade Fair a SuccessThursday, May 07, 2015 > 10:05:28
When one looks at the performance of the economy generally at the moment and the quality of the exhibits, it was really a successful show.
The 56th edition of the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF) ended on Saturday after five days of business and trade.
The country's biggest multi-sectoral exhibition, which ran under the theme, "Stimulating Trade: Seizing Opportunities to Accelerate Growth", attracted both local and foreign participants from 19 countries.
This year's show, which organisers described as "compact and structured", occupied a total of 45 583 square metres, accounting for 91 percent of available space.
The Trade Fair saw a total of 611 exhibitors taking up space, of which 388 were direct while 223 were indirect exhibits.
Looking at local participation, 53 percent of exhibitors were Harare-based companies while 33 percent came from the host city of Bulawayo. The remainder came from other parts of the country.
About 70 percent of companies which participated last year, according to ZITF Company management, returned.
A major shift in this year's exhibition was the sharp decline in the space occupied by China and South Africa, which traditionally have been the biggest exhibitors at the annual showcase.
Mozambique emerged the biggest exhibitor this year in terms of space occupied, ZITF marketing and public relations manager, Stella Nkomo, said. She did not give figures.
She however said in terms of the country that brought more companies, South Africa topped with over 20 companies.
Industry and Commerce Minister, Mike Bimha, said considering the difficult environment in which companies were operating, the Trade Fair was successful.
"Most of our industries are really facing severe challenges and despite that there is that willingness to continue to operate and willingness to showcase and be seen and be heard and that to me is a commendable attitude because that's really what resilience is all about," he said.
"We need to come up with strategies that overcome those constraints. When one looks at the performance of the economy generally at the moment and the quality of the exhibits, it was really a successful show."
He said the decline in Chinese exhibits was caused by a request to showcase products that met ZITF standards.
"If you recall last year we had a big participation by China but I am sure you will agree with me that the quality that we experienced was not probably what is expected of an international fair," explained Bimha.
"We advised them that we would rather have fewer exhibitors but with the quality that go along with the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair. Therefore, this was our request to China hence we have fewer exhibitors but those who did come have sort of met our standards," he said.
The other reason for a decline in Chinese exhibits, Bimha said, was a clash of dates with a fair in China during the last two days of the Zimbabwe trade fair.
About the decline in space occupied by South African companies, Bimha said: "The space might have been reduced but the participation was high. We have a number of agreements which we have entered into with South Africa which can augur well into the future."
Despite the cancellation of the tourism sector's meetings, incentives, conventions and events (MICE) workshop on the very first day of the show owing to low uptake, there were 20 buyers from Poland, South Africa and the United States who visited tourism facilities in and around Bulawayo.
"Market feedback received so far is that exhibitors are happy with the high calibre of invited buyers and are confident of future business opportunities arising from those meetings," said Bimha.