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Zimtrade urges businesses to diversify

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TRADE promotion body ZimTrade has urged businesses to diversify and explore new avenues to create employment and increase exports.

BATANAI MUTASA
OWN CORRESPONDENT

Speaking at the official opening of the executive development programme on international trade in Bulawayo on Monday, ZimTrade chief executive officer Sithembile Pilime said the training programme had proved very powerful in Harare leading to an invitation to Bulawayo. The training course is being conducted by the Indian Institute of Foreign Trade (IIFT) through the country’s local embassy.

“The programme should not be viewed only from the nature of your companies’ business focus, but also from the point of view of what could be done at the national level and in this particular instance, Bulawayo, to create new areas of business, for example, in the knowledge sector,” Pilime said.

Bulawayo has been facing high levels of company closures blamed on lack of competitiveness in the country resulting in local goods being priced out of reach of regional and local markets.

Once the industrial hub of the country, Bulawayo has shouldered the brunt of low economies of scale with some economic analysts blaming stakeholders for lack of creativity to counter stringent economic conditions, Pilime expressed hope IIFT training would enlighten businesses.

“It is our hope that the relationship between ZimTrade and the IIFT will continue to grow given the need to enhance our export competitiveness,” she said.

Modules in the five-day programme include export and market research, global e-business, total quality management for international business and competitiveness strategies for international business.

Speaking to the media on the sidelines of the event, the ZimTrade boss said the programme would get more down to earth and tackle practical side of concepts.

“Competitiveness issues come even on decision-making, your packaging, how your product should look, how you should brand it; all those things come in,” she said.

Acting Indian ambassador to Zimbabwe Rakshpaul Malhotra said the IIFT had over the years undertaken path breaking studies with multinationals like the World Trade Organisation and the World Bank.

“The institute, we understand, has trained more than 40 000 business professionals across 30 countries in various facets of international business and trade policy via management development programmes,” he said.

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