Zvamaida Murwira Senior Reporter
Zimbabwe scored a huge success at the just ended Intra Africa Trade Fair (IATF) held in Durban, South Africa as the country was able to showcase its endowments to regional markets and beyond.
The huge interest by investors culminated in the country winning the awards for Best Stand for Doing Business, and Best Stand Design.
The Best Stand for Doing Business Award was given to the pavilion that created a strong and busy business to business atmosphere. Zimbabwe was also commended for impressive presentation of the stand, its products and services.
While actual figures of the value of business done at the fair are still being compiled, the amount of traffic to the Zimbabwean stands, business deals struck and pledges made point to a huge success.
President Mnangagwa attended the opening ceremony last week where he said Zimbabweans, particularly youths and women, could create wealth for themselves by taking up opportunities generated by the fair, which will benefit the continent’s 55 countries.
In an interview last night, ZimTrade chief executive officer, Mr Allan Majuru said the trade fair saw President Mnangagwa’s economic diplomacy, engagement and reengagement efforts paying off as several investors expressed keenness to re-trade with Zimbabwe.
He said the 30 local participating companies at the trade fair held fruitful engagements with firms across Africa indicating potential for Zimbabwe to increase its exports and diversify markets.
The IATF, which took place in Durban, South Africa from November 15 to yesterday is a continental programme designed to improve linkages between buyers and sellers on the continent.
“For Zimbabwe, which is implementing major re-engagement efforts as part of President Mnangagwa’s economic diplomacy drive, the trade fair provided an opportunity for Zimbabwean companies to showcase the ingenuity and unique products, and this will boost buyers’ confidence in local industry.
“With increased buyers sourcing from the local industry, Zimbabwe is set to achieve the target of 10 percent exports that is laid in the National Export Strategy, launched in 2019,” said Mr Majuru.
He said Zimbabwe’s exports into African markets are expected to grow from new business linkages that were created at the fair.
“One of the targets we had going into the fair was to establish new leads that will make it easy for local companies to land products across the continent as the current structure where our export markets are dominated by South Africa is not sustainable.
“The trade fair was able to reveal huge potential for Zimbabwean products in regional markets and beyond, particularly in sectors such as processed foods, processed tobacco, agricultural inputs and implements, horticulture, clothing and textiles, leather, and arts and crafts.
“From the excitement shown by potential buyers when they interacted with our products, I am confident we will grow our share of African markets,” he said.
The quality products exhibited by Zimbabwean companies, said Mr Majuru, made it easy to generate new business leads.
“The Zimbabwe pavilion was a hive of activity, thanks to the high superior products from sectors such as processed foods, clothing, and leather that were on display. Some companies sealed deals and others connected with potential buyers and we are looking forward to see these deals generating actual exports,” he said.
Mr Majuru said the level of engagement at Zimbabwe pavilion indicates positive outcomes of the Second Republic’s economic diplomacy following years of isolation that saw a hiatus in Zimbabwe’s export markets.
“Local companies at the fair were able to put an impressive show, which saw the country receiving two of the seven awards that were presented during the trade show.”