THE Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce (ZNCC) Matabeleland Chapter’s international trade and investment conference opens in Bulawayo today as the business lobby group seeks ways of reviving the economic fortunes of the region.
More than 600 local and international delegates are expected at the business indaba with foreign guests from over 18 African countries set to attend.
Finance and Economic Development minister Patrick Chinamasa and his Industry and Commerce counterpart Mike Bimha are expected to be part of the high-ranking officials to grace the conference.
The ZNCC Matabeleland region said the hosting of the conference was in line with government’s objective to capitalise and revive the local industry.
“We seek to lure and promote investment from the region and abroad through equity and partnerships in local firms,” said the ZNCC in a statement.
The trade and investment conference, dubbed “Opportunities in Africa and the Rest of the World”, is aimed at improving investment in the southern parts of the country.
According to ZNCC, ambassadors from 18 African countries have confirmed attendance while representatives from international financial institutions, including the Africa Development Bank and Industrial Development Bank of South Africa are expected to attend.
The conference is a follow-up to the inaugural seminar held in October 2011 which marked the initiation of trade dissemination platforms and linkages between businesses in Matabeleland and the rest of the world.
According to ZNCC, the conference will host an exhibition for local and regional companies from African chambers of commerce and industries across the globe.
The continental conference comes as Bulawayo faces serious deindustrialisation with over 100 companies shutting down.
Economic analysts are projecting that more firms will be liquidated while several others will be placed under judicial management this year.