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ZITF roars into life

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SEVERAL Bulawayo companies are making a return at this year’s edition of the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF) which roars into life today after years of shunning the annual premier trade showcase owing to the prohibitive economic environment.

zitf

NQOBILE BHEBHE
CHIEF REPORTER

In previous exhibitions, scores of established firms stayed away from the ZITF citing viability constraints.

The poor presence of city firms at the country’s premier trade showcase had dashed hopes of any imminent recovery prospects.

Last year, Harare companies comprised 57% of local exhibitors, with Bulawayo firms accounting for 35%.

Although Southern Eye could not obtain official figures, there were scores of stands with signs that were being worked on bearing names of Bulawayo firms.

Southern Eye saw Treger Products, Zimplow and other small and medium scale enterprises officials making final touch-ups on their stands yesterday.

Several government departments’ stands were empty by mid-day yesterday although touch-ups were being done.

The exhibition, that was due to be officially opened by Congo Brazzaville President Denis Sassou Nguesso on Friday 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.

Over the years, Bulawayo companies have been closing shop while others relocated to Harare citing viability problems.

In 2011, the government set up the Distressed Industries and Marginalised Fund to address deindustrialisation, but only a few Bulawayo companies managed to tap into the $40 million purse.

Meanwhile, some South African exhibitors yesterday said part of their exhibits were still stuck at Beitbrige border post.

The major highlight of the exhibition would be the annual one-day premier business conference slated for April 23 organised in partnership with the National Economic Consultative Forum.

The conference, which draws captains of industry, government officials and foreign exhibitors, runs under the theme “Technology and Innovation: A key pillar for ZimAsset’s successful implementation” and will be officially opened by Vice-President Joice Mujuru.

Mujuru’s topic is “ZimAsset setting the tone for the revitalisation of Zimbabwe’s Industries”.

Other speakers at the business conference include Finance and Industry and Commerce ministers Patrick Chinamasa and Mike Bimha respectively, Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries president Charles Msipa and Econet Wireless boss Douglas Mboweni, among others.

Chinamasa will focus on innovative funding of ZimAsset, the case of joint ventures, private-public partnerships and special economic zones.

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