Mbabane: Eswatini Investment promotion Authority (EIPA) is set to host a Handicraft Fair which will be held on BuyEswatini.com, EIPA’s online shopping mall and online exhibition venue.
The event is set to run for 21 days and aimed at local handicraft retailers and will be hosted in order to allow local handcraft businesses a platform to showcase their unique products to potential customers.
The Handicraft Fair will open with a free webinar on 24 September, which will host a series of speakers who will launch the official proceedings of the handicraft fair.
In a statement, EIPA said industry experts from the private and public sector will form part of the programme including speakers from the Ministry of Commerce Industry and Trade, a representative from SWIFT, and other relevant organisations including EIPA. Each of these speakers will give perspective on how local handcraft stores of any size can increase capacity, find new markets, and create sustainable long-term partnerships, while also giving an overview of the industry’s performance in current market conditions.
According to EIPA retailers are encouraged to register for the exhibition by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org. The free Handicraft Fair webinar will also be live on Zoom. The login details are as follows, Login ID: 894 5595 1192 and passcode: 552168.
Head of Trade at EIPA, Bongani Ntshangase stated that the importance of hosting events such as the Handicraft Fair is important for local artisans to strategically market their unique and diverse offerings of skilfully handmade products to the rest of the world.
He said the Handicraft Fair forms part of the Eswatini Virtual Trade Fair (EVTF) which was launched in late 2020. The EVTF was set up in response to the need for safe digital spaces to host events due to the COVID-19 pandemic while also allowing local industry, such as the handicraft industry, in this case, to continue showcasing their capability despite limitations on physical exhibitions.
As one of Eswatini’s leading export goods through tourism, the handicraft industry has previously been largely sustained by tourists coming into the country and buying wares which they would then take back to their homes. In recent months, however, with the imposed travel restrictions many businesses have taken a hard hit. The Handicraft Fair is an attempt to give these retailers support to continue displaying their goods to an international market despite the sharp decrease in international visitors to the country, while also offering them the permanent benefit that they can get from registering their goods on BuyEswatini.com.
The Eswatini Virtual Trade Fair offers exhibitors the benefit of a virtual 3D exhibition booth, product activations and demos, on-demand video and file uploads or downloads, and online visitor registration and profiling among other features.
It also offers exhibitors a large number of benefits including 24/7 access to the exhibition space regardless of your location across the globe, intelligent matchmaking capabilities due to online client registration, and minimal setup costs for exhibition spaces. During times when there are no live EVTF exhibitions on BuyEswatini.com, the virtual platform will continue to operate as a permanent online shopping mall of goods and services offered by traders from all over Eswatini.
Ntshangase also added that with the EVTF and exhibitions such as the Handicraft Fair, EIPA seeks to present Eswatini’s trade potential to both domestic and international business people, while also creating linkages for increased export and domestic trade.
Eswatini has trade agreements with SADC, COMESA, AGOA, the Economic Cooperation Agreement (ECA) signed with Taiwan, and The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCTFA), all of which make it easier for local retailers to launch their goods into a diverse pool of markets with favourable trade conditions.