Mashudu Netsianda Bulawayo Bureau
The Zimbabwe International Trade Fair has been incorporated into the communication strategy of the National Development Strategy 1 (NDS1) as part of efforts to promote Brand Zimbabwe, raise awareness of the national strategy and raise public participation in implementing Government policies.
Under the NDS1 communication strategy, public buildings and spaces in Zimbabwe and at the country’s embassies will be adorned with the products of the nation’s arts, culture and heritage. This entails improving public relations at ports of entry with appropriate welcoming messages and imagery.
The overall aim of the strategy is to achieve an accurately informed nation and international community on developments in the country to facilitate two-way communication between Government and citizens, and to reshape the national viewpoint through content creation, development and dissemination.
Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa, who was in the company of her Deputy Cde Kindness Paradza and chief director in charge of Government programmes and messaging in the ministry, Mr Jonathan Gandari, met ZITF top management at the weekend to map the way forward.
Minister Mutsvangwa said there is a need to improve the look and feel of the ZITF through carefully thought-out messaging strategies.
“This is a shared responsibility between Government ministries, departments, exhibitors and organisers. Implementing Vision 2030 requires all hands on the deck as ZITF is one of the major links between the public, industry and Government,” she said.
“In light of that, my ministry would like to explore with you messaging possibilities that Government, exhibitors and organisers can employ to connect the trade fair to the spirit of Zimbabwe is Open for Business, image building and international re-engagements.”
Minister Mutsvangwa said as part of the NDS1 communication strategy, they would make use of a wide variety of the interpretative media, one of which include billboards, signage and artwork to bring glamour and exceptional good feel to exhibitors and visitors.
“We need to share ideas on how to improve the look and feel, the aesthetics of ZITF through thematic messaging so that people can feel the vibrancy and the connection between ZITF and Government vision as currently implemented through NDS1,” she said.
“We don’t want people to feel that year after year it is the same thing such that if one attends one ZITF they may as well predict the events for the next decade. We are challenging one another to be innovative to find ways of making sure that ZITF is stimulant for development in the minds and homes of our nation.”
There should also be improvement in the dressing up and the messaging at the main arena where the ZITF is officially opened, including the exhibition hall and pathways to create an ambiance that is in sync with the mood of national development.
She said messaging would also be done in the Bulawayo city centre and along the road leading to the ZITF.
“We want to create labels that have a high probability of being read and that meet the educational objectives of the Zimbabwe we desire to pass on to the next generation.
“We need to project the Zimbabwe is Open for Business mindset to our people and international investors,” said Minister Mutsvangwa.
“Since the ZITF gets extensively covered by both local and international media, it will also get to be livestreamed by different content creators as well. We want a great narrative to come out of the event. ZITF should be a messaging chance for brand Zimbabwe.”
Deputy Minister Paradza said: “We are trying to create a script for NDS1, and ZITF is one such event where the Government messaging will be visible. We are going to work together with other stakeholders to make sure that it is no longer the ZITF we used to have.”
He said this year’s ZITF should be in line with the country’s Vision 2030.
This year’s 62nd edition of ZITF will be held from April 26 to 30 in Bulawayo under the theme: “Rethink, Re-imagine, Re-invent Value Chains for Economic Development”. The focus is on strategic transformation in the configuration and operation of value chains locally and regionally.
This is on account of the adverse effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, which magnified the challenges that already prevailed in supply chains by exposing previously unseen susceptibilities.