EXPECTATIONS are high that the 2014 edition of the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF) will be a success as local companies are looking forward to revive business in Bulawayo.
This year’s edition will be held from April 22 to 26 having been brought forward from May 6 to 10.
Local business associations and economists who spoke to Southern Eye on Friday expressed positive expectations about this year’s edition.
Bulawayo Business Arise administrator George Mukamba said ZITF would bring hope to local industries.
“It will present an opportunity for companies in Zimbabwe to exhibit their products and I hope local companies are going to support that,” he said.
“We are going to learn more from other international companies for example their technological advancement.”
Mukamba said local companies should learn to develop their local products.
Affirmative Action Group Matabeleland chapter president, Roy Sibanda said as a group they were expecting that problems of liquidity crunch currently biting the country are going to be solved.
“The mood is very gloomy because of the liquidity crunch, but we expect that the problems will be solved. We hope that we will have foreign exhibitors and our people are going to benefit out of them,” Sibanda said.
“ZITF presents a good opportunity for local companies to showcase their products because if you get an order from foreign companies you are guaranteed of being paid as compared to local ones,” he added.
An economist, Erich Bloch, predicted this year’s edition was going to be better as compared to last year.
“The bookings are better this year and I expect it to be a better fair. It is going to benefit Zimbabweans and it presents an opportunity for local businesspeople to interact with the international counterparts.
“I heard last week that there were only 49 stands left for booking,” Bloch said.
He encouraged local companies to come forward and showcase their products.
Last month ZITF revealed that they had sold 80% of the 51 000 square metre space available for the country’s premier business exhibition scheduled for April and they were aiming to sell 100% of available booking space this year.
According to ZITF chairperson Bekithemba Nkomo, more than 21 countries had expressed interest in the exhibition compared to 16 that exhibited last year.
ZITF sold 95% of available space in 2013. Bangladesh, China, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Italy, Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa and Zambia have already reserved space.
This year’s exhibition is running under the theme “New Ideas, New Heights” and will feature product groups such as machinery and expertise for infrastructure, manufacturing processes and equipment, innovation, automation and supplies for agro-processing, among others.
The exhibition will run concurrently with Asambeni Africa Expo, which has been rebranded to a business tourism expo to promote the country. An international business conference organised in partnership with the National Economic Consultative Forum is slated for April 23.