Zimbabwe small, medium enterprises to participate at Shanghai Expo

14:45, March 26, 2010      

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Zimbabwe will send about 60 small and medium enterprises to exhibit at the Shanghai World Expo that runs from May 1 to October 31 this year, a cabinet minister said on Thursday.

Small and Medium Enterprises Development Minister Sithembiso Nyoni told Xinhua in an interview that the companies will go in batches of 10 per month starting from May.

She said her ministry has started training the companies on how to market their goods, quality improvement and the type of goods required by the Chinese market.

"We are giving them training and we are still negotiating to see if we can chip in financially because they will have to take care of their own air tickets and accommodation," she said when asked about any support the government is giving to the companies.

Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) involved in crafts ware, home décor, embroidery, stone work and engineering are among those attending, the minister said.

She added that the exposition presents a huge opportunity for Zimbabwean SMEs that have tottered under 10 straight years of economic decline to sharpen their entrepreneurial skills, market their wares to the world and boost sales.

"The expo will enable our SMEs to see what other SMEs are doing in Asia, Africa and the global world," she said.

More than 200 countries and up to 80 million visitors will descend on Shanghai for the exposition, and Zimbabwe will get a chance on August 11 to showcase its economic, tourism and business potential to the world.

The country will mount a pavilion and commercial bazaar where visitors will obtain information about Zimbabwe while at the bazaar companies would be able to sell and market their wares.

The Shanghai World Expo will run under the theme "Better City, Better Life" from where Zimbabwe has adapted its theme " Transforming our Communities for A better Life".

Nyoni said cooperation between Zimbabwe and China's SMEs is very small, and called for increased collaboration in the future.

She noted that some Zimbabwean SMEs have developed individual relationships with Chinese SMEs but indicated that this is not the same with the government to government ties on SMEs.

"We are not doing much as we would want to do," she said but expressed willingness to work with the Chinese government to enhance SME ties between the two countries.

Coordinator of Zimbabwe's participation at the Expo ZimTrade has said the huge event could provide quick wins for the country's tourism sector.

The event will also be an occasion for Zimbabwe to showcase its vast business potential and investment opportunities in mining, agriculture, manufacturing, service sectors and infrastructure development, it added.

Source: Xinhua
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