Prosper Ndlovu in Gaborone, Botswana
Zimbabwe companies participating at the ongoing Botswana Global Expo here are excited about the positive enquiries for exports and hope to secure deals with long term value chain synergies.
A total of 15 companies, 10 of them from Bulawayo, are participating at the neighbouring country’s prime trade showcase through the facilitation of export development and promotion agency, ZimTrade.
In separate interviews company representatives said the platform has so far given them positive leads, which require aggressive follow ups.
They said the event has become an eye opener as it has given them key export information and exposed them to the wider market.
“We have had exposure so far and the market here is amazed by our products. We came here for the first time and there is a lot of interest,” said Zondani Phiri, from Nnino Ceramics.
“There is desire for us to open branches here while some want to be our agents. There is huge potential for growth even in the whole region and yet we have been in this business for just five years.
“We are already exporting to SA, Zambia and Rwanda and have been invited for a similar Expo in London, United Kingdom.”
Food chemicals and flexible packaging manufacturer, Codchem, said participating at the expo was going to help them expand business beyond Zimbabwe.
“We came here mainly to seek synergies with potential regional players. The information we are getting from this Expo will help us strategise for increased exports while we grow business at home,” a company official at the stand said.
Detergents maker, Nelspot Brands, representative also said the Expo has given them ‘good’ leads and hoped these will bear positive fruit. The company is desperate to expand its export base as it has the capacity to meet both local and foreign demand.
Bulawayo-based Millennium Footwear Company is also among the participating firms. Together with sister companies in the leather sector, these businesses have recorded increased traffic at their stands.
“The public like our products and some clients are coming from South Africa. Here in Botswana they even want us to assist them. In training their people on leather skills and in tannery. This is a window for synergies and value chain development in the region”, said Stewart Simali founder and director of Millennium Footwear.
Zimtrade Matabeleland regional manager who is leading the country delegation, Similo Nkala, also said the expo was promising to be good for exporting firms.
“We are on day three of the trade fair and the feedback is that buyers are amazed that there is still some good activity happening in Zimbabwean industries despite some negative reporting. We came in our large numbers with 15 companies.
“The feedback from companies shows buyers are excited especially by the quality of products and they are keen to do business with the country,” said Nkala.
He said exhibiting firms were also taking advantage of their presence here to engage more potential buyers in Gaborone outside the platform venue. Today Nkala will represent the country in one of the key sessions where he will outline and discuss at length the trade and investment opportunities from Zimbabwe.