From Tendai Mugabe in JAKARTA, Indonesia
THE 26th Trade Expo Indonesia opened here yesterday with at least 15 Zimbabwean businesspeople attending the annual fair to explore ways of forging synergies with their counterparts.
The expo, also called the Jakarta International Expo, is being run under the theme: "Remarkable Indonesia" and has attracted over 1 200 exhibitors and buyers from all over the world.
In an interview on the sidelines of the official opening of the expo, one of the Zimbabwean businesspeople, Pastor Abie Mangwenzi of Zaoga, who is the international director of Professional and Business Network, said they wanted to exploit business opportunities presented by the Indonesian market.
"We have not come here to be on holiday, but we really mean business," she said.
"We have been send by the church through PBN to come and identify business opportunities for our people."
Pastor Magwenzi said they wanted to acquire business skills to apply back home.
"We want to see how Small and Medium Enterprises have managed to excel, especially in areas such as manufacturing of furniture and handbags," she said.
"We understand that this economy is driven by SMEs and one of our objectives is to import that to our country."
Pastor Magwenzi said they had identified the textile and manufacturing industries as notable sectors in which they could partner Indonesians.
She said the 26th Trade Expo Indonesia had provided them with a platform where they could do business internationally.
"There is little trade taking place between Zimbabwe and Indonesia and we hope that this platform is going to open a number of opportunities for business among our two countries," said Pastor Magwenzi.
Zimbabwe's trade attache to Indonesia, Mr Ntambama Ncube, said Zimbabwean businesspeople needed to shift from being mere recipients of finished products and become manufacturers.
He said platforms such as the Trade Expo Indonesia provided learning opportunities for Zimbabwe's business people, which they could use to develop the country's economy.
"Our businesspeople should move away from a culture of going out of the country to buy finished products," said Mr Ncube.
"Let us have business delegations that come here focusing on acquiring skills and new technology they can use back home."
Mr Ncube said Government should prioritise funding of the SME sector the same way it does for agriculture.
He said the country's economy had the opportunity to rebound if Government committed itself to funding of SMEs.
The Zimbabwean business delegation had an opportunity to visit one of the biggest manufacturing companies called PT Dharma Polimetal.
The visit was facilitated by Indonesian Ambassador to Zimbabwe Mr Eddy Poerwana.