Zim eyes more deals in Dubai

WITH only 30 days left before the curtain comes down on the six-month-long Expo 2020 Dubai, Zimbabwe is scaling up the momentum in its investment and trade campaign where it hopes to seal more lucrative deals that will propel the economy.

A packed programme of action has already been lined up for this month leading to the “National Day” activities on March 14, which will be the “pinnacle” of the country’s marketing drive and will be graced by President Mnangagwa and high-level representation from the host country, the United Arab Emirates.

Zimbabwe is already one of the top trade partners to the UAE, with local export earnings from the Middle Eastern country clocking a record US$1,4 billion in 2020, according to official figures.

Participating at this expo is, thus, strategic for Zimbabwe as the country moves to widen its trade gains and garners for diversification of its product market spread to the entire Gulf region and the wider European network.

Increasing export earnings is at the heart of Government’s National Development Strategy (NDS1), a key building milestone towards attainment of an upper middle- income economy by 2030.

Despite the earlier dampening impact of Covid-19 induced global travel restrictions at the expo, Ambassador Mary Mubi, said relaxed lockdown regulations since the start of the year had sparked renewed momentum in terms of visits and opportunity enquiries at the Zimbabwe pavilion, and the country was building impetus on these interests.

This has seen Zimbabwe step up efforts to market the country. Ambassador Mubi said she had rallied all stakeholders to pull their efforts together for the country to make distinctive impact at the expo, for the event to yield the desired investment outcomes.

“In terms of the programme, we will have the National Day ceremony (March 14) where a high-level delegation will come here and there will be meetings with the host country,” said Amb Mubi.

“Then of course we will have a business forum, which will focus largely on investments, and an engagement with Diasporans here, visits to one or two interesting projects here in the UAE, and of course bilateral discussions. We hope that a number of MoUs (memorandum of understanding) will be signed.”

Ambassador Mubi said the renewed activity after the removal of travel ban has given Zimbabwe a grand opportunity to roll out key sectoral conferences such as the forthcoming Zimbabwe Dubai Tourism Conference slated for March 5 to 7, and two others on health and information.

Two weeks back the country, led by ZimTrade, hosted a successful trade and investment indaba where the UAE expressed commitment to strike synergies with Zimbabwe on a number of value chain projects.

“With this remaining time it means that we have to work twice as hard, if not three times as hard to try and garner investors to come to our events.

“One of the things that we are saying to the incoming delegation, the sectors as they come from Zimbabwe, is that we have to have a winning story, a convincing story and that is the challenge,” said Ambassador Mubi.

“Yes there are so many pavilions that have so many events that are exciting but in order to get the critical mass of investors or people to come is to have a different angle, we have to tell our story in an exciting way and I think it’s highly possible.”

The Expo 2020 Dubai Commissioner General challenged business and investment teams from home to play their part in terms of enhanced planning and improved coordination that will ensure successful matching with the necessary investment companies that are interested in Zimbabwe.

“We are clear about the areas that we are looking for investors . . . we cannot just call investors in a vacuum but we want to tell them that there are people who are coming who want investment in a particular project so that it becomes much easier,” she said.

“So, yes we are happy with the renewed numbers of people who are coming through the pavilion, a lot who are interested in visiting Zimbabwe.”

“So you know all the time we are looking to events that will amplify, we are also working with other pavilions in order to amplify our presence.” Herald.

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