CONGO Brazzaville’s President Denis Sassou Nguesso will no longer officially open the 55th edition of the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF) in Bulawayo this week.
The country’s biggest trade showcase runs from April 22 to 26 April and Nguesso had been billed to be guest of honour.
But President Robert Mugabe’s spokesperson George Charamba yesterday told Southern Eye the Congolese leader would now attend a meeting in Angola to address the Central Africa Republic (CAR) crisis.
“Yes, it’s true he’s no longer coming. He sent an envoy to advise us that he would be committed with CAR peace talks in Angola on the day when we are officially opening our ZITF,” he said.
“So our own president will officially open the trade fair.” Nguesso’s visit for the ZITF had been confirmed by Jean Baptiste Ondiye, minister in the presidency in Congo at a meeting with Mugabe in March.
Ondiye was in the country to represent Nguesso at the wedding of Bona Mugabe and Simba Chikore.ZITF organisers have said more than 20 countries have confirmed participation compared to last year’s 16. Of the 21, 11 have reserved stands and among them are Bangladesh, China, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Italy and Malawi.
The exhibition will run under the theme.
“New ideas to New Heights” and will feature product groups like machinery and expertise for infrastructure development, manufacturing processes and equipment for innovation, among others.