China dominates ZITF

BULAWAYO - China has once again bounced back as the largest exhibitor at the on-going Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF) in Bulawayo, overtaking South Africa which dominated last year’s trade showcase.

The 55th edition of the annual premier trade showcase kicked off on Tuesday and is expected to end on Saturday.

China’s dominance shows how investment interest by the Asian country continues to rise in Zimbabwe. This year the country boasts of more than 1 000 square metres against second-placed South Africa which occupies 800 square metres.

Two years ago, China was the top exhibitor but perhaps not amused by being overtaken by one of Africa’s most powerful economies, they almost doubled their space this year.

Since the Zanu PF government embarked on the Look East policy after having fallen out of favour with traditional partners among European nations, Zimbabwe saw a remarkable increase in China’s investment activities in the country.

During a press briefing on Tuesday, ZITF boss Bekithemba Nkomo said despite a slow start to the exhibition, they were optimistic of a successful event.

“We are confident that once again the exhibition will be fruitful. There is so much enthusiasm from both the exhibitors and business visitors,” Nkomo said.

“Our major foreign exhibitors this year are China and South Africa.”

Chinese exhibitors occupy the whole of Hall 5, while South Africa increased their space from 700 square metres to 800 this year.

A total of 19 nations are participating, three more than last year.

In order to further boost trade between China and Zimbabwe, a Zim-China investment conference is to be held today where various local and Chinese business people will meet.

In the last edition of the trade showcase, ZITF officials clashed with Chinese exhibitors who were selling their wares directly to the public from their stands during the business days.

A circular warning the culprits had to be immediately sent around the exhibitors which resulted in  conformity to reduce the threat of the fair being turned into some sort of a flea market.

According to the ZITF regulations, exhibitors are only allowed to sell from their stands on the last day of the business days.

Amongst the three countries who are making their maiden appearance is the United States of America (US) together with DR Congo and Nigeria.

The US is returning after a long absence, in a move viewed as a thawing of frosty political relations that have existed between the two countries for the past decades.

In a statement, the US counsellor for public affairs Karen Kelley said as part of their return they will be showcasing their partnerships with  Zimbabwe in health, education and culture.

“Through the ongoing US programming and partnerships in Zimbabwe, the US continues to promote Zimbabwe’s economic recovery and highlight opportunities for trade and investment that will benefit American and Zimbabwean businesses alike,” Kelley said.

She also said that the two countries have for over the past 15 years been enjoying positive trade relations adding that between 2004 and 2008 there was a remarkable 16 percent average annual trade growth rate.

In his special welcome remarks, Industry and Commerce minister Mike Bimha said the exhibition provided a platform to both local and foreign exhibitors “to explore new markets and sources of investment and technology transfer.

“New business ideas and innovation are important for industry and commerce to achieve international competitiveness and effectively gain from international trade,” said Bimha, adding that innovation was critical in meeting demands for the ever-changing consumer needs and wants.

This year’s edition running under the theme, “New Ideas, New Heights, and Progress through Innovation” is due to be officially opened by President Robert Mugabe tomorrow.

Comments (2)

Our Chinese friends are here only to fleece by selling us sub-standard items and services. The Chinese shoes I bought last week are now beyond repair. Look what the fellows did at Chiyadzwa. They took all the alluvial diamonds but the surface "mining" should have been done by us locals and we would have invited foreigners much later to extract minerals from underground as they have the machinery. It turns out that our snake-eating friends are just as poor as some of us. Friendship alone will not rescue us from the economic quagmire we need investors from Canada, USA, Australia, France and Britain to help us out of the deep pit.

Jevas Pondo - 24 April 2014

The Chinese, who have nothing to offer us but fleece us, are in Zimbabwe courtesy of Robati, Gire and their gang of rabid sh#ithole lickers.

Muchakubvura - 25 April 2014

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