By Joyce Mukucha
As a developing nation seeking to intensify socio-economic revitalisation and move towards attaining an upper middle society by 2030, Zimbabwe is set to unpack vast opportunities through an interactive, exciting and educative programme as it will participate at the Expo 2020 Dubai.
Zimbabwe will be exhibiting its culinary skills as well as showcasing the country’s reputation for its human capital, hard work and resourcefulness to the expo’s audience. In line with this the chefs who will be representing the nation have been urged to be competitive and present quality and well-packaged food to attract international market.
According to the latest market report by Technician, globally, the culinary industry is expected to cost a growth of over 90 percent during the period 2019-2023.
Expo 2020 Dubai is the first World’s Expo to be held in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia which will run under the theme “Connecting Minds, Creating the Future,” from 20 October 2020 to April 2021.It is expected to receive 15, 5 million visitors and 25, 5 million visitors from 190 nations over a 6-month period. Business visitors will constitute 20 percent, mainly coming from China, India, and the United Kingdom whilst the remaining 80 percent will be for leisure. It is estimated that 2, 3 million visits will be from students mainly under the Expo Schools programmes in the UAE.
Zimbabwe’s Commissioner General for Expo 2020 Dubai Ambassador Mary Mubi at a Culinary Industry Stakeholders Breakfast Meeting in Harare on the 25th of November 2019, said that the expo was an opportunity for the nation to become a prosperous and an empowered country as well as change its negative narrative into a positive one.
“This Expo is important to us as it will promote trade and investment opportunities as well as attract visitors to Zimbabwe. It is not only that we are going to celebrate the culinary ceremony in Zimbabwe but in many aspects we can share it with the rest of the world and generate increased interests for our products. There is need for our chefs to prepare in a way which is competitive so that our market is increased as well as having our own economy boosted. So to the Chefs who will be representing our nation, I urge you to promote brand Zimbabwe and unpack the country’s vision 2030,” she said.
The Expo will showcase innovation, encourage collaboration and celebrate human ingenuity , with innovators from all over the world invited to share ideas about the future of education, employment, financial models, transport, travel and exploration ,improving mobility for disabled people and disconnected communities, logistics, protecting natural ecosystems and promoting biodiversity and other challenges currently affecting the world at large.
Speaking at the same meeting, the secretary in the Ministry of Environment, Climate Change and Hospitality Industry, Audrey Chidyamakono said in as far as the culinary industry is concerned, which is the food and beverage side, the industry is relatively labour intensive as Africa was not doing well thus the need to improve.
“The culinary industry is the largest retail employment sector around the globe. It is important to note that for the industry to have meaningful contribution to national development, it should be supported by infrastructure development which then lead to Gross Domestic Products, food affordability, direct and indirect multiplier effect and health and nutrition of a nation,” she said.
The Zimbabwe Tourism Authority Chief Executive Officer, Givemore Chidzidzi explained that there were a plethora of culinary industry opportunities for Zimbabwe to showcase at Expo 2020 Dubai but unfortunately its capability was being underrated.
“Zimbabwe has so much to offer in terms of food but it is underestimated and that is why our food remain unpopular as compared with other nations. Our African dishes are rich in health and nutritious so there is need for our chef’s to present those dishes in a convincing manner that will attract the international market. Once visitors at the expo are impressed by our meals, especially the organic foods, it will generate interest in them of wanting to come and enjoy them in our country and by doing so it means our tourism sector will be boosted, therefore let us engage and utilise our vast opportunities” said Chidzidzi.
The Culinary Subcommittee Chairperson Conrad Chibanda, said the opportunity is exceptional as it will unlock new doorways to investment. He added that the globally multiple event will open an opportunity for Zimbabwe’s pavilion to market the country’s diverse food in Dubai and lure investors.
“This is the time for Zimbabwe to inspire, invigorate the senses, open the minds and hearts, tease the soul and leave the audience with deep sense of desire for Zimbabwean food and pavilion. For now, we are developing an APP with the ability to engage, communicate, order, notify and schedule, and link our culinary buyers with sellers. This will help us to showcase some important aspects of our traditional dishes to the whole world,” said Chibanda.
The Expo 2020 Dubai theme is supported by three main sub-themes which are; mobility, opportunity and sustainability and these are indicated to be the timeless drivers of progress that continue to inspire people, organisations and nations in their endeavours to create a better future.