Pretoria — SOUTH Africa, Zimbabwe's largest trading partner, said it would pursue economic collaboration and partnerships with Zimbabwe for the purpose of achieving sustainable economic development and integration in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region.
Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, Elizabeth Thabethe, said this at the 55th edition of the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF), which has kicked off in the second city of Bulawayo.
She is leading her country's 47 companies that are showcasing at the annual event.
"As the ZITF has a strong international orientation, it will offer regional and international business contacts to the South African exhibitors," said Thabethe.
"They will also get an opportunity to market their products and services, increase their market knowledge of Zimbabwe, increase exports of South African manufactured goods and services, obtain trade leads, and generate export orders.
"Also, by establishing their presence in Zimbabwe, the South African companies will be able to access other markets in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region like Zambia, Democratic Republic of Congo and Angola," Thabethe added.
Commenting about the trade exhibition on Tuesday, Zimbabwe's Minister of Small and Medium Enterprises, Sithembiso Nyoni, urged local companies to showcase high quality products in order to attract international markets.
"We want our local SMEs move from being informal to formal and in the process turning them into big companies.
"At this year's Trade Fair we want them to showcase their high quality products be it in food processing, clothing, craft, chemical engineering and metal fabrication," said Nyoni.
Among the international countries that are participating at the ZITF comprise Brazil, China, Indonesia, Iran and the United States of America.
Several African countries comprising Zimbabwe's neighbours Botswana, Mozambique, South Africa, Zambia, Malawi, Namibia and Kenya are also taking part at this year's intra-regional trade fair, the largest in South of the Sahara.
Organisers have dedicated Tuesday to Thursday to exclusive business days comprising the annual International Business Conference with renowned local and international speakers, ZITF Golf Challenge, a high profile charity golf day before the official opening by Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe on Friday.
This year's theme is dubbed, "Building value, Enhancing growth."