Expo Dubai 2020 to spotlight Zim investment

Source: Expo Dubai 2020 to spotlight Zim investment | Herald (Business)

Ambassador Mubi

Golden Sibanda

Zimbabwe will use the global spotlight provided by Expo 2020 Dubai to showcase the diverse and attractive investment and trade opportunities in the country, with preparations for the exhibition progressing well and now at advanced stages.

The southern African country will join 190 other participating countries for the global trade showcase, to be held under the theme “Connecting Minds, Creating Future”, which will open on October 1, 2021 and run until March 31, 2022.

Before the pandemic forced the event to be postponed from the original dates in 2020, organisers had expected 25 million visitors during the course of the six-month international fair. 

However, despite travel restrictions and the recent lockdowns in some parts of Europe, Reem Al Hashimy, director general of the Dubai Expo 2020, says they are holding on to the pre-pandemic target.

With less than a month before the expo gets underway, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and ruler of Dubai, said they were ready to welcome the world and herald a new era of international collaboration.

Expo 2020 Dubai Commissioner General, Ambassador Mary Mubi, said the Dubai Expo will help cast the spotlight Zimbabwe and highlight the diverse range of huge investment opportunities across the country’s different sectors.

The Second Republic, under President Mnangagwa, declared Zimbabwe open for business with trade, investment and private sector led growth key elements of the development matrix.

Speaking during a meeting to highlight the role of media regarding the Expo 2020 Dubai Ambassador Mubi said with a few weeks to the start of the global event, Zimbabwe’s pavilion was 100 percent complete while a container carrying Zimbabwean artefacts had arrived in the Emirate.

Ambassador Mubi said the role of the media was to identify key areas to focus on and build awareness and support towards Zimbabwe’s participation, facilitate a coordinated approach towards Expo 2020, expound the purpose and objectives of the country’s participation, as well as amplifying Zimbabwean stories and a narrative of positive developments in the country.

Zimbabwean products drawn from across the sectors, including goods made by small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and established firms would be on display for the six-month period Expo Dubai will run.

Ambassador Mubi said the exhibit will highlight investment opportunities, arts and culture, human capital and innovations from Zimbabwe. She said Zimbabwe will be exhibiting in the opportunities cluster and the country theme is “Zimbabwe the Land of Great Opportunities”.

“We are creating exciting content, including fashion, cotton to clothing and agriculture,” she said, adding they were trying to come up with content that will excite the world and traders.

She said since Dubai is in the Middle East, it could provide a market for Zimbabwe’s horticultural products, for which buyers have already shown keen interest.

Further, she highlighted that one of the world’s largest expos will also provide a platform to market opportunities in the country’s tourism sector, mining, mineral availability, value addition and beneficiation, infrastructure development and business to business partnerships, among others.

“The National Day is March 24, 2021. On this day we will showcase investment opportunities in the country and there will be a high level delegation,” she said.

Similarly, many cultural activities will take place, including performances by top local musicians, while paintings and sculptures will be on display.

A range of manufactured top quality Zimbabwean products will also be exhibited by SMEs and established businesses to showcase the Zimbabwe brand. 

Ambassador Mubi urged participating companies to take advantage of the digital space provided by the expo to market their products, given Covid-19 restrictions may prevent visiting by large numbers of people to the pavilions.

She said it was incumbent “for SMEs to develop (online) platforms so that we can continue to trade with the world”, despite restrictions posed by Covid-19.

The objective of Zimbabwe’s participation was to promote and unpack the country’s Vision 2030, trade and investment opportunities, attract visitors, clarify policies, exhibition of Zimbabwe’s culture and heritage and top brands in goods and services. Further, the intention was to unpack the open for business mantra using tangible examples, seek source markets and opportunities for technology transfer, tourism, human capacity development, exhibit Zimbabwe’s rich and diverse human capital and change previously negative narrative on the country. Expo 2020 is earmarked to become the biggest cultural gathering in the world, with 60-plus live events per day for 173 consecutive days, and hundreds of entertainment, cultural and culinary experiences.