Botswana Investment and Trade Centre (BITC) is expected to take part in the annual Zambia Agricultural and Commercial Show (AGCZ) which is to be held in Lusaka, Zambia from the 1st August 2013 to the 5th August 2013.
BITC Executive Director, Brand Management Esther Norris says the 87th show themed, “Business in a changing environment” will be a platform that demonstrates Zambia’s offering in agriculture, manufacturing and other related sectors to the regional and international markets. She added that the exhibition attracted 1003 exhibitors from the region and internationally in 2012 and has enjoyed a steady growth from 540 exhibitors on inception in 1997.
“Botswana’s annual participation at this fair is facilitated by (BITC’s) Export Enterprise Development function which has this year been able to mobilise participation by eight companies that represent a wide range of product offering such as clay bricks, chemicals, plastic products, protective cleaning, meat and meat products, vaccines and stock feeds,” she revealed.
Norris pointed out that to reiterate the importance of their involvement in the fair, their participation will not only mean opportunities for trade among the two countries but it will also solidify the relations the two countries have been enjoying by being signatory to the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Trade Protocol.
She also went on to state that, “for Botswana, Zambia’s market will present an opportunity for our manufacturing industry to exploit and expand her market share into Zambia and the rest of the SADC region taking into consideration the close proximity of the two countries.”
Norris also emphasized that BITC has in addition facilitated for a contact promotion mission to take place concurrently with the AGCZ and added that will enable Botswana companies participating to meet potential buyers, retailers and distributors and explore opportunities of joint venture partnerships.
She is optimistic that the show will create a platform for Botswana products and it will accord the companies to meet with potential key stakeholders in Zambia and the international market.
“Initiatives such as these are driven by BITC on an annual basis to various markets within Africa and other international markets to the organization’s core function of identifying market outlets for locally manufactured products, with a major strategic focus on seeking and promoting products that are suitable to enter the export market. This involves initially identifying and researching new markets to facilitate targeted export promotion aimed at selected buyers, including investigation of opportunities in markets that have trade agreements with Botswana, so as to maximize benefits,” she said.
She highlighted that the objectives of participation in such exhibitions and organizing contact promotion missions are to promote Botswana products in foreign markets, to penetrate new and untapped markets, as well as to increase the number of Botswana companies that export by heightening the export awareness of potential exporters, training and guiding them to make their first export sales.
“To support and prepare local potential exporters, BITC offers an Export Development programme aimed at diversifying and growing the country’s exports by training companies to be export ready. It also targets sectors identified in the National Export Strategy. The approach also aims at ensuring that companies with potential but falling outside the scope of the sectors that have been identified are not overlooked during selection,” she stated.
Norris pointed out that the training endeavours to develop selected companies to gain hands on practical experience in various aspects of production to help improve product design, quality and productivity. She added that companies are also educated on the techniques of developing market driven products whilst incorporating a robust Export Marketing Plan within their business models.
“All selected companies are visited to conduct needs analysis or assessment, which aims at identifying each company’s training and technical needs requirements for example, product improvement, production, quality and standards control,” said Norris.