The 57th edition of the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair one of the largest intra-regional trade fairs south of the Sahara kicked off in Bulawayo on Tuesday despite the prevailing economic environment, this yearâ€™s exhibition will be better than in previous years. The annual exhibition offers exposure to trade and public visitors, the multi-sectoral, multi-national expo provides a convenient trade hub for the region.
It is running under the theme, â€œInnovate-Integrate Industrializeâ€. Building on last yearâ€™s focus which was on seizing opportunities to accelerate growth, the 2016 edition goes a step further to address the critical issues of innovation, industrialization and regional integration.
ZITF Company chairperson Bekithemba Nkomo said that he is happy with the overall show, and the products on display are better than those exhibited in the past few years.
Nkomo acknowledged that there are a few exhibition halls that are empty, noting that this was due to depressed demand. He added that the ZITF Company decided to focus more on the quality of the exhibitions than the number of exhibitors.
Nkomo also confirmed that there has been a decrease in the number of Chinese companies whose numbers in previous years have been increasing. He attributed this to a global trend in which businesses are cutting costs.
On views that the exhibition is losing its popularity and relevance, he said that the ZITF is transforming itself to refocus on promoting products from the local manufacturing sector in response to demands by its clients.
There are 390 exhibitors, which is just a few more than lastâ€™s 387 exhibitors.
A representative of a local textile printing company, Minenhle Moyo, said that the Bulawayo branch of her firm has closed down because of viability problems in the face of an influx of cheap imported products.
But she said that the ZITF provides her company with an opportunity to let people know that they are still in business.
The ZITF will be officially opened on Friday by Togolese president Faure Gnassingbe. President Robert Mugabe is expected to grace the official opening ceremony.
The show is between April 26-27 open to business executives and exhibitors with two following days set to be accessible to members of the public, including the official opening ceremony on Friday.
The annual International Business Conference will be held tomorrow and a high profile charity event, the ZITF Golf Challenge on Thursday 28 April.
ZITF and the specialized exhibitions hosted annually at the Zimbabwe International Exhibition Centre provide ideal venues at which to meet the deal-makers and the new industrialistâ€™s first-hand.
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