Zimbabwe representatives from both the private and public sector took full advantage of the Intra-African Trade Fair (IATF) that ended here today to showcase what the country has to offer, as the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) comes to life.
AfCFTA has created a single market for goods and services across 55 countries on the continent.
It aims to boost trade and investment.
Zimbabwean exhibitors at the fair made sure to position the country for rich pickings in the US$2,5 trillion market.
IATF was hosted by the South African government in collaboration with the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank).
The trade fair, which was oversubscribed and attended by more than the expected 10 000 delegates, is seen as one of the key initiatives in support of the implementation of the AfCFTA.
Throughout the week-long event, Government, public and private companies showcased products and services, as well as holding pivotal discussions on how they can gain market share and investment in the continent-wide market that boasts of more than 1,2 billion people.
In his remarks at the opening ceremony of IATF2021, President Mnangagwa said Zimbabweans, particularly youth and women, can create wealth for themselves by taking up opportunities generated by deepening intra-African trade, which will benefit all the continent’s 55 countries.
Interestingly, the Zimbabwe pavilion, which President Mnangagwa toured, had strong representation of women-run businesses.
Industry and Commerce Minister
Dr Sekai Nzenza and Foreign Affairs and International Trade Minister Ambassador Frederick Shava had the opportunity to tour the Zimbabwe pavilion, which
was described by many attendees as the best.
Foreign Affairs and International Trade Deputy Minister David Musabayana toured the Zimbabwe pavilion on Friday and said the standard of presentation, packaging and branding had shown that Zimbabwe has managed to catch up with the rest of the region.
Industry and Commerce Deputy Minister Raj Modi managed to tour the stands on Thursday alongside South Africa’s Deputy Minister of the Department of Trade Industry and Economic Development Nomalungelo Gina.
Deputy Minister Gina’s key question to Zimbabwean exhibitors was the level of local content in their products.
At the end of her tour, she was impressed by the use of local raw materials by most of the exhibitors.
She also expressed SA’s commitment to deepen trade relations with Zimbabwe.
“We are looking to make sure that we have a very strong relationship when it comes to trade with Zimbabwe. So we have agreed to continue talking to forge those relationships to ensure that our investors find it easier to go from South Africa to Zimbabwe and vice versa,” she said.
In an interview, Deputy Minister Modi said a lot of countries and investors expressed interest in Zimbabwe.
“We have had very good interest from many countries which visited our stands. A lot of investors also expressed interest in relation to Zimbabwe,” he said.
ZimTrade CEO Mr Allan Majuru expressed satisfaction with the overall trade fair and said exhibitors had managed to establish strong leads for future business engagements.
“Despite the business that has been generated in terms of exports, one key thing that has come out is the distributorship networks that the companies have managed to achieve.
Some have managed to set up distributorship in Cape Town, in Durban and even Johannesburg for them to move their goods.
“That is sustainable because we are not always present here in Durban, but we need to keep the business moving,” said Mr Majuru.
Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) acting CEO Mr Givemore Chidzidzi said the fair was fruitful.
“What impressed me most is the turnout of Zimbabweans at this international trade fair.
“Apart from those that are at the Zimbabwe pavilion, I have observed that there are so many Zimbabweans that came here as visitors and delegates, showing that this international trade fair was marketed extensively and got a very good response.”
The fair, he added, had provided a platform for the country’s re-engagement efforts, as well as trade and tourism.
Agricultural Marketing Authority acting director for agribusiness Junior Manduna said the fair was an eye-opener.
“There are huge opportunities for agriculture trade among African states.
“More participants ought to take part, especially the Ministry of Lands (Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development), and farmers as well.”