The 57th edition of the Zimbabwe International Tarde Fair kicked off in Bulawayo on Tuesday with an official saying despite the prevailing economic environment, this year’s exhibition is better than in previous years.
Addressing journalists at a press conference at the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair this afternoon, ZITF Company chairperson Bekithemba Nkomo said he is happy with the overall show, saying 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 the ZITF is transforming itself to refocus on promoting products from the local manufacturing sector in response to demands by its clients.
Nkomo said there are 390 exhibitors, which is just a few more than last’s 387 exhibitors.
Bruce Thompson, deputy chief executive officer of a South African company that manufactures bulk storage tanks which is exhibiting at ZITF for the first time, said he expected to get good business as he has already received several enquiries.
Several other exhibitors said they are happy to be taking part at the international trade showcase. A representative of a local textile printing company, Minenhle Moyo, said 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 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 Zimbabwe International Trade Fair is one of the largest intra-regional trade fairs south of the Sahara. It is running under the theme, “Innovate-Integrate Industrialise”. Building on last year’s focus which was on seizing opportunities to accelerate growth, the 2016 edition goes a step further to address the critical issues of innovation, industrialisation and regional integration.
The show is between today and Wednesday 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.
The Bulawayo Agricultural Society is exhibiting various livestock and farm produce.