ZITF roars into life

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The 52nd edition of the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair begins in Bulawayo this morning with a view to reposition the country as a prime investment destination and lure foreign direct investment that has proved elusive in recent years.

This year’s exhibition will be held from May 3-7 in Bulawayo under the theme “Optimising Business Synergies — Now and Beyond”.

For the first time in the history of the exhibition a dignitary who is not a Head of State will officially open the event.

Africa Import and Export Bank (Afreximbank) president Jean Louis Ekra is scheduled to officially open the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair as organisers break with tradition at one of the major events on the country’s business calendar.

An international business conference which will run parallel to ZITF, organised by National Economic Consultative Forum, Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce and exhibition organisers will be one of the key highlights at the event.

The theme of the business conference is “Optimising growth synergies in an emerging investment destination: turning opportunities into value”.

The conference will be held on May 4 at the main arena of the ZITF. It will focus on strategies required to improve the country’s investment climate.

South African business mogul Cyril Ramaphosa is expected to address the event.

The new Zimbabwe Electricity Authority Holdings chief executive officer Engineer Josh Chifamba, Econet Wireless chief executive officer Douglas Mboweni, president of the African Development Bank Donald Kaberuka, and Zimbabwe Investment Authority chief executive officer Richard Mbaiwa are some of the key speakers at the conference.

Once rated as the largest and most influential gathering of local and international business leaders in Zimbabwe, the annual ZITF is still trying to recover from a decade-long economic and political crisis that saw investors shun the country.

More than 400 local and international exhibitors are believed to have taken part at last year’s exhibition.

Vice-President Joice Mujuru, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and his deputy, Arthur Mutambara, Industry and Commerce minister Welshman Ncube are expected to grace the exhibition.

Other speakers include NECF steering committee chairperson Mike Ndudzo, Ministry of Industry and Commerce permanent secretary Abigail Shonhiwa, Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries president Joseph Kanyekanye and Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce president Trust Chikohora.