US returns to ZITF after a 3-year hiatus, expo attracts more

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By Bulawayo Correspondent

A total of 435 exhibitors have confirmed their participation at this year’s Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF) which will be held from 23 to 27 April, with the return of the US through its embassy the highlight.

Last year, a total of 414 exhibitors showcased at the annual expo while a total space of 45, 632 square metres was taken. The US whose relations with Zimbabwe have been frosty has not exhibited at the ZITF in the past three years.

Industry Minister Mangaliso Ndlovu said the return of the US was a sign of the Western power’s commitment to re-engaging Zimbabwe.

“The US government through the US embassy will be making a return to the ZITF after a 3- year hiatus to show their commitment to re-engagement with Zimbabwe.

“The 2019 event takes place against a backdrop of Zimbabwe’s re-engagement with the international community and genuine shared enthusiasm about the country’s economic outlook,” said Ndlovu.

To date, a total of 47,724 square metres has been taken up by both local and international exhibitors according to Mangaliso Ndlovu.

He was addressing journalists in Bulawayo on Wednesday, Ndlovu said Harare has the highest number of exhibitors while foreign exhibitors constitute 5% percent of the exhibitors.

“In terms of geographical mix, 59 % of confirmed local exhibitors are from Harare, 23% are from Bulawayo, 13 % from other towns and 5% are foreigners.

“On the international exhibitors front, 16 direct international exhibitors have booked space to date which is marginally lower than the 17 that had booked at the same time last year,” said the Minister.

Ndlovu said a total of 12 foreign nations including Mozambique, the US, United Arab Emrates, Nigeria and Zambia have confirmed their participation.

Among the expected displays from the international exhibitors are agricultural products, food and beverages, cosmetics, education services ICT and automation equipment.

Ndlovu added that during the event, ZITF in conjunction with the National Economic Consultative Forum will host a business conference.

“This year’s conference will focus on addressing issues of investment, infrastructure gaps, competitiveness and value –chain linkages as they relate to the realisation of vision 2030,” he said.

This year’s theme is “Propagating Industrial Growth through Trade and Investment”.

According to Ndlovu, the guest of honour will only be announced after some formalities have been done.