Zimbabwe’s trade development and promotion agency, ZimTrade, will this year lead the participation of local businesses and Government related institutions at the continent-wide trade fair scheduled for November 15-21, 2021 in Durban, South Africa.

The second edition of the Intra-Africa Trade Fair (IATF) provides a marketplace for business linkages among buyers and sellers in Africa and will strengthen networks for Zimbabwe’s exporters so that they have a fair share of the African market, estimated to have more than 1,2 billion consumers.

Participating companies, who include small businesses, women-led and youth-led businesses are drawn from sectors such as horticulture, processed foods, construction and engineering, agricultural inputs and implements, clothing and textile, packaging and printing, arts and crafts, and electricals.

In line with the need to boost the country’s trade in services as required by the National Export Strategy, launched by President Mnangagwa in 2019, participating companies are also drawn from services sectors such as tourism and hospitality, and banking.

Based on the successes recorded at the inaugural IATF held in Egypt in 2018, ZimTrade chief executive officer, Allan Majuru, said the event is expected to improve the visibility of Zimbabwe’s products in regional and other African markets.

“From the successes of that fair, where local companies concluded businesses deals at the event, I am confident we will get more positive results again this time as the programme provides a unique opportunity for companies to do business.”

Mr Majuru further indicated that the demand for Zimbabwe-produced products is on an upward trend in African markets and encouraged local companies to take advantage of available opportunities to grow their exports.

“Following the initial engagements in Egypt, the appetite for local products has been growing in African markets and indications are that the quality of Zimbabwean products exceeds what is currently being provided by competition.

“So, this year we are targeting to unlock new markets through creating strong business linkages between our exporters and buyers from the continent,” he said.

Mr Majuru also pointed out that the participation of local businesses at the IATF dovetails with the Second Republic’s re-engagement efforts and will contribute towards successful implementation of the National Development Strategy (NDS1), which already identifies exports as a key enabler to economic growth.

“As the country is pursuing an economic agenda that is anchored on increasing exports through diversifying markets and its products, the scheduled trade fair will provide sustainable platform that will see improved exports to the rest of the continent.

“This projected export growth will help accelerate Zimbabwe’s implementation and achievement of the NDS1 through the resultant increases in foreign currency generation, improved livelihoods and economic growth,” said Mr Majuru.

The IATF is designed to support the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) through unlocking trade and investment opportunities available on the continent.

The event is expected to boost intra-Africa trade, which is estimated to be 16 percent of total African trade and remains low compared to the levels in Europe (59 percent), Asia (51 percent), and North America (37 percent), according to African Export-Import Bank.

Read the original article on The Herald.

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