Zim to feature prominently at IATF 2023

Delegates making their way into the main hall for the official opening of IATF 2023. At least 35 000 delegates, visitors and exhibitors are expected at this year's event

Zimbabwe is expected to feature prominently at the Intra-African Trade Fair (IATF) 2023, which begins here today, as the southern African country continues to position itself as an investment and trade partner of choice on the continent and globally.

IATF is a unique and valuable platform for businesses to access an integrated African market of over 1,3 billion people with a gross domestic product of over US$3,5 trillion, which now has harmonised trading terms under the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

The fair, which is being hosted by the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) in collaboration with the African Union (AU) and (AfCFTA Secretariat in Cairo, Egypt from November 9 to 15, 2023 allows African businesses, including from Zimbabwe, to forge new relationships and business opportunities to stimulate intra-African trade.

The fair brings together a diverse range of businesses, government officials, investors, and trade experts.

At the last IATF meeting held in Durban, South Africa, in 2021, US$42,1 billion worth of trade and investment deals were signed, 32 541 people visited while the fair attracted 1 501 exhibitors from 69 countries.

This year, the target is to have US$43 billion worth of investment and trade deals signed while 35 000 conference delegates, trade visitors and media are expected to grace the event.

Approximately 1 600 exhibitors from 75 countries have confirmed their participation.

Not only will Zimbabwe have its own pavilion with several local firms exhibiting, mobilised by national trade promotion and development body Zimtrade, but it will also be showcasing investment opportunities in the country on various platforms throughout the fair.

Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Resettlement Minister, Dr Anxious Masuka is the highest ranking official from Zimbabwe, who is expected to speak at the fair under a panel discussion on Ensuring Food Security Through Agricultural Productivity and Intra-African Trade.

The panel discussion, which will take place on the 12th, will discuss the challenges and investment opportunities to raise productivity and better develop intra-African and global agricultural value chains.

On the same day, there will also be a side event on the Zimbabwe Trade and Investment Mission to Egypt: Promoting Trade and Investment under AfCFTA.

A day before, during a panel discussion on Breaking Commodity Dependence: Diversifying African Trade and Promoting Participation in African Value Chains, discussants and delegates are expected to “draw lessons from successful diversification and value addition efforts such as in Botswana and explore new efforts by countries such as Zimbabwe’s ban on raw lithium exports and Ghana’s ban on export of raw cocoa beans.”

The participation of Zimbabwe at the fair is in line with Zimbabwe’s engagement and re-engagement drive which is being spearheaded by President Mnangagwa.

To show his seriousness on trade, one of President Mnangagwa’s key ministries is that of Foreign Affairs and International Trade.

On the 13th of this month, there is going to be a signing ceremony for Export Agriculture for Food Security in Africa, where Zimbabwe is joined by 4 other countries Botswana, Benin, Malawi and Egypt. Details of the signing ceremony will be revealed ahead of the day.

IATF 2023 will also provide a project showcasing platform with Mr. Ian Goldberg, CFO, Prospect Resources Limited showcasing The Step Aside Lithium Project located 35 kilometres from Harare (and approximately 8km north of the Arcadia Lithium Mine Project).

It sits on approximately 100 hectares of mining claim within the Harare Greenstone Belt.

The IATF plays a crucial role in boosting trade among African countries which is generally lower compared to other regions.

The fair aims to address this by creating a conducive environment for African businesses to trade with each other as it provides African businesses with access to a larger market within the continent.

This enables companies to expand their customer base and increase sales, ultimately contributing to business and economic growth.

In a recent interview, ZimTrade Communications manager, Danai Majaha said the trade development and promotion body is targeting at least US$20 million worth of deals to be concluded during the fair.

“We believe that this is going to really strengthen Zimbabwe’s footprint across the continent.

“Our target is to grow based on the success that we recorded in the previous AITF that was held in South Africa where deals worth US$15 million were concluded during the trade fair,” he said.

Herald

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