Business Development

Need to open up Zimbabwe for Business: Industry Minister

Minister Ndlovu

There is need to implement significant reforms such as improving the ease of doing business, improving competitiveness, and opening the country to international investors and financiers, Honourable Nqobizitha M. Ndlovu, the Minister of Industry and Commerce has said.

He made the remarks at the Zimbabwe International Trade fair (ZITF) Marketing Campaign launch press briefing held in harare on 5 December 2018 at the Rainbow Towers Hotel.

“As Zimbabwe works towards becoming a prosperous and empowered upper middle-income society by 2030, the government has, through the Transitional Stabilisation Programme, highlighted the need to open the economy for business.This will entail, among other things, significant reforms such as improving the ease of doing business, improving competitiveness, and opening the country to international investors and financiers.

“To this end the Ministry of Industry and Commerce has identified the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair as a key platform for us to engage the international community as we seek to strengthen linkages which are pivotal to us achieving our desired economic growth rate trajectory,” Minister Ndlovu said.

Celebrating its 60th anniversary the annual ZITF continues to be a not just a demonstrative theatre for Zimbabwean businesses but offers investment prospects, learning content and consultative opportunities that are imperative to the national development agenda.

Government relies on the trade showcase for a bird’s eye view snapshot of the economy that describes markets, shows actual trends and opens up new business opportunities.

Preparations for the 60th consecutive edition of the annual Zimbabwe International Trade Fair officially begun with the launch of the show’s marketing and promotion campaign. The special, diamond jubilee trade show will run from 23-27 April 2019 at the Zimbabwe International Exhibition Centre in Bulawayo under the theme, “Propagating Industrial Growth through Trade & Investment.”

The theme is a rallying call for industry and commerce to participate in the trade showcase to explore and cement synergies that promote trade and investment.

Coming at a time when Zimbabwe has embarked on an economic reconstruction agenda that places emphasis on re-engagement with the international community, ZITF 2019 is set to provide an opportune engagement platform between and among trading and cooperating partners, potential investors, international and local business people.

In line with this thrust, ZITF have embarked on an aggressive international exhibitor and visitor drive that complements government’s investment and international trade vision.

Minister Ndlovu revealed that over the past month, ZITF officials have been conducting personal visits to foreign diplomatic missions in Zimbabwe to invite exhibitors, business visitor delegations as well as participants in the concurrent networking sessions. He said encouraging feedback was received during the meetings, reflecting strong interest for both regional and international trade with Zimbabwe.

Some of the countries that have shown keen interest and are still to confirm their bookings include Botswana, Brazil, China, Ethiopia, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Iran, Japan, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Pakistan, Russia and Zambia. The network of international sales agents is also actively attracting participants from more markets. The company continues to seek linkages with world-wide Chambers of Commerce and Industry to encourage their members to bring appropriate technology to Zimbabwe.

“Next week, ZITF will be a part of the Zimbabwe delegation participating in the Intra African Trade Fair taking place in Cairo Egypt. The lined engagements are part of the overall strategy to attract quality international exhibitors that will result in improved export market diversification and access to new markets for our country.

“As Zimbabwe continues to work towards driving sectoral growth in its productive sectors, ZITF 2019 will therefore provide a stage for potential investors and business partners to identify and forge relationships with stakeholders in those sectors of the economy that will drive industrial development, namely; agriculture, construction, infrastructure development, education, ICT development, professional and entrepreneurial development, manufacturing, mining, renewable energy, health care, water & sanitation, tourism and services.”

The government is calling upon local exhibitors in these and other sectors to take advantage of the integral networking and sourcing platform offered by ZITF 2019 and confirm their participation. Stands are already being allocated within their various product groupings and participants were encouraged to take advantage of early-booking rates.

To date a total of 138 exhibitors have confirmed their participation for 2019. Sectors represented include: services (health, education and business), manufacturing (food, chemicals), building & construction, government, ICT, media & printing, SMEs, agriculture, mining, local authorities and transport among others. In terms of space uptake, 49 631 square metres have been made available for sale. Of this, 63,7% has been taken up compare to 59% sold at the same time last year.


Other notable issues from previous editions that the ZITF Company is building on include:


  1. Creating more opportunities for local industry players to access new markets –companies are encouraged to be visible at the ZITF to build confidence that industry is still operational and entice increased investment in manufacturing processes for the country to resuscitate and revitalise industries as well as to create sustainable value-chains. Through pre-show matchmaking arrangements and online planning services for visitors, the show will seek to identify purchasers and providers needs and facilitate contacts between them prior to their arrival at the show.
  2. Encouraging representation from local industry in other cities besides Harare and Bulawayo – representation from other regions will ensure that business visitors get a full appreciation of what the country as a whole has to offer.
  3. Increased buyer-centric focus – ZITF 2019 will provide industry buyers with the opportunity to do business with local suppliers in an organised and efficient environment while engaging in technical and information exchange. To this end, Ministry of Industry and Commerce is working with the ZITF company as well as local business bodies to organise targeted delegations, both local and foreign, to attend the show. One-on-one meetings will be organised with interested exhibitors to ensure that the show provides a tailored, enriching experience for each delegate. Targeted buyers include representatives from businesses seeking new sources of raw materials, goods and services, potential investors and financiers, distributors and other supply chain players such as independent wholesale and retail chains.
  4. Augmented content-driven networking and knowledge-sharing platforms – ZITF 2019 is set to take place in an era of transformation and inclusion as per the President’s clarion call for an all-hands-on-deck approach to the economic reform process. The show will therefore feature several concurrent discussion platforms aimed at driving discussions on socio-economic growth and development in line with the Transitional Stabilisation Programme.



  • Key events that will take place at the show include the ZITF International Business Conference that is organised in conjunction with the National Economic Consultative forum (NECF) on 24 April and the Official Opening Ceremony on 26 April.
  • The ZITF Company is also collaborating with the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI) to host the Manufacturers’ Breakfast on 27 April 2019.
  • ZITF networking platforms will be enhanced as well. There is already interest from foreign countries that would like to organise investment fora. More details will be provided once the events are confirmed.
  • To close the business days, the ZITF Charity Golf Challenge will be played on 25 April.
  • Next year the ZITF will have 3 business days, 23-25 April, and will open to the public on the last two days, 26-27 April.
  • As always, the Bulawayo Agricultural Show will be running concurrently with the ZITF.


  • The following industry-specific exhibitions will also run parallel to ZITF 2019; A’sambeni Africa Business Tourism Expo, for the MICE tourism sector; Scholastica, for the education, careers and training sectors; Pakprint, for the printing and packaging sectors and Ultim8 Home, for home improvement and renovation.
  • Industrialisation must go hand in hand with human resource development. In light of this, ZITF 2019 participants can look forward to expanded Scholastica seminars and workshops in line with the theme.


  • The outlook for next year seems very positive. With the support of the whole of industry, the ZITF Company looks forward to a fruitful and successful ZITF 2019. Advertisers and sponsors are invited to take advantage of this opportunity to increase their visibility.

About the author

Byron Adonis Mutingwende