Every year the city of Bulawayo in Zimbabwe hosts the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF). This year will mark the 55th edition of the event when it opens on April 22 and runs through the 26th. It has just been announced that the President of the Republic of the Congo—Denis Sassou Nguesso—will be the one to officially open the event next month, at the personal invitation of President Mugabe of Zimbabwe.
The ZITF is one of the largest intra-regional trade fairs in sub-Saharan Africa, drawing exhibitors from across the globe. It first began in May 1960 as the Central Africa Trade Fair on a site that had since 1899 served as a venue for agricultural and trade shows. The exhibition center, which houses the event, is a massive 17 hectare site with over 58,000 square meters of space available to exhibitions. The event does not begin until the end of next month, but has already had 80% of its available space booked. 21 nations have confirmed taking an active interest in the 55th nations have already reserved stands, including China, India, Italy, Egypt, Bangladesh, Malawi and Indonesia.
The theme of this year’s ZITF is “New ideas to new heights.” Invited participants are divided into product groups, such as: agricultural development equipment/expertise; machinery and goods for infrastructure development; machinery and goods for value-addition in mining and manufacturing; machinery and goods for ICT (information and communications technologies) development; consultancy services and products for energy and water provision; and investment in agriculture, tourism, mining, manufacture. These are then split up into product categories:
• Agricultural/ Irrigation Equipment/ Water Engineering/ Ecological Management/Livestock Management
• Agricultural Produce/ Arboriculture/ Horticulture/ Fisheries
• Arts And Crafts
• Automotive/ Garage Equipment/ Transport : Aviation, Boating, Bicycles, Motorcycles, Rail, Vehicles
• Building/ Construction/ Civil Engineering/ Hardware
• Business Services: Advertising, Banking, Finance, Business Management, Consultancy, Courier Services, Exhibitions /Congresses, Franchising, Industrial Design, Insurance, Investment, Property Management, Securities, Subcontracting/Export Promotion, Investment, Research and Development.
• Clothing/ Textiles/ Haberdashery/ Upholstery/ Production Machinery Equipment
• Children’s Nursery Goods
• Computers/ Informatics/ Office Equipment/ Audio-Visual Equipment/Hi-Tech/Communication Systems (Media, Networks)
• Consumer Goods/ Gift Items/ Jewellery/ Accessories
• Cosmetics/ Toiletries/ Hairdressing
• Distributors And Wholesalers
. It has just been announced that the President of the Republic of the
• Electrical Engineering/ Electronics
• Food/ Food Processing/ Beverages/ Catering
• Footwear/Leather Goods
• Furniture/Interior Decorating/Wood Products/Household Equipment
• Light And Heavy Engineering/ Tools/Pneumatic Equipment
• Leisure / Tourism / Sport / Outdoor Living
• Energy (Electric, Hydro, Solar, Thermal, Wind): Production, Equipment, Distribution
• Mining /Minerals Processing /Geology
• Public Services (Culture And Conservation, Education and Training, Government, Medical, Health)
• Packaging/ Labelling/ Bottling
• Paper Products /Publishing /Printing / Stationery /Graphic Art (Petro) Chemicals / Pharmaceuticals / Medical, Laboratory And Scientific Products, Instruments & Equipment
• Plastics / Rubber / Glassware/ Porcelain/ Crockery
• Refrigeration /Air-Conditioning /Heating
• Tourism and Hospitality
Besides being a trade show, the ZITF also hosts a high profile golf tournament midway through the event’s scheduled duration. After three days of exclusive business days, the last two days of the ZITF will be opened to the public. The ZITF is just one of many symbols of growing infrastructural and economic development in Central Africa. It is an exciting time for the region as countries have engaged in greater economic integration and cooperation.
President Denis Sassou Nguesso is a natural choice as the man to open the trade fair. He is one of the region’s biggest proponents of international economic collaboration, having hosted the BUILD Africa forum to promote foreign investment in Central Africa. The 55th ZITF is part of a great movement towards infrastructural modernity and it occurs amid a spirit of optimism.