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Organisers of this year’s edition of the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF) have reported increased foreign interest on the country’s biggest trade showcase, indicating that a change of exhibition dates has not courted aerse reaction from stakeholders.

ZITF chairman, Bekithemba Nkomo, said they did not expect the change of dates to compromise the quality of the jamboree.

ZITF 2015 will be the 56th since its inception.

Initially, the exhibition had been scheduled for April 21 to 25 but last week it was rescheduled to run from April 28 up to May 2.

“This (change of dates) has unfortunately been due to circumstances that are beyond our control we had to move it,” said Nkomo.

“But we are pleased to say that all our stakeholders that we have spoken to thus far have understood our situation and there has not been any aerse reaction to it and we are grateful for that.”

He said the response from the foreign market has been pleasing with 20 direct foreign exhibitors having booked space to date.

Again, this compares well with the 13 foreign exhibitors who had booked at this time last year.

The confirmed foreign exhibitors will be coming from 12 countries namely China, India, Iran, Germany, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Pakistan, Poland, South Africa and the United States.

Nkomo explained: “Other foreign nations which have expressed interest in participation include Austria, Bangladesh, Brazil, Congo Brazzaville, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ghana, Japan, Mauritius, Oman, United Arab Emirates and Zambia.”

Head of research at Econometer Global Capital, Christopher Mugaga, said ZITF remained a well-sought after event appearing on the international exhibition calendars, also arguing the change of dates would not have any impact on the show.

“As long as the market is notified of the change, it should not cause any problem,” he said.

To date, close to 44 000 square metres of exhibition space has been taken up, accounting for 84 percent of available space, compared to 83 percent during the same period last year.

Three hundred direct exhibitors have confirmed participation compared to 283 at the same time in 2014.

“Space is still available for sale and exhibitors who have not booked are encouraged to do so before the early booking discount period ends on 31 March,” said Nkomo.

Some of the major highlights of the show to run under the theme “Stimulating Trade: Seizing opportunities to accelerate growth” include the international business conference slated for April 29, organised by the ZITF Company in partnership with the National Economic Consultative Forum and other stakeholders.

“The focus of this year’s conference is to discuss how balancing exports and imports is the key to unlocking Zimbabwe’s potential,” said Nkomo.

“A mix of local and international speakers including presentations by speakers from South Africa and Japan will feature in the line-up.”

The exhibition will feature product groups such as machinery and expertise for infrastructure development, manufacturing ideas, processed and equipment for innovation, automation and supplies for agro-processing, knowledge and services relevant to education and tourism and equipment and innovation to aance information and communication technologies development.

Source : Financial Gazette