Beitbridge Expo showcases SEZ opportunities
Thupeyo Muleya, Beitbridge Bureau
THE just-ended Beitbridge Business Expo has come in handy in exposing the border town’s special economic zone (SEZ) opportunities.
These are ready for exploitation by various potential local and international investors, Environment, Tourism, Climate and Hospitality Industry Minister, Mangaliso Ndlovu, has said.
He noted in his official opening speech on Friday, that Beitbridge town was strategically located in a regional and international trade corridor, which presents a compelling case for investors to tap into available economic development opportunities.
Over 100 local exhibitors, including visitors from South Africa, participated at the three-day expo, which was held at Dulivhadzimu Stadium under the theme “Beitbridge 24 seven”.
The expo sought to promote investment into various business segments, which operate in the border town and linking these with the broader economy in line with the country’s wider transformation focus.
As such, Minister Ndlovu said the Government declared Beitbridge a special economic zone (SEZ) together with Bulawayo, Harare (Sunway City), Victoria Falls, Mutare, and Masvingo.
This, he said was specifically done to facilitate smooth investment and development in Beitbridge as a hub of logistics for Zimbabwe and Sadc as a region.
“As such we invite both local and foreign investors to tap into the diverse opportunities offered in the special economic zone (SEZ) and the open economy in general,” said Minister Ndlovu.
“This expo sits well with our Second Republic mantra that ‘Zimbabwe is open for business’ and dovetails with our Vision 2030 to attain a middle-class economy by then. We appreciate and applaud companies exhibiting at this Expo for being friends of the development of Beitbridge and Zimbabwe.
“It’s important to note that this annual event is a creation of locals that brings together traders, small and medium enterprises, Government departments, parastatals and potential investors from within Beitbridge, Matabeleland South, Zimbabwe at large and South Africa.”
Minister Ndlovu said the expo was an inclusive platform that projects Zimbabwe’s progressive development and the Second Republic’s drive to ensure ‘no one and no place is left behind.
“This presents a good environment for business to network and explore trade and investment opportunities,” he said.
The Beitbridge Special Economic Zone, in particular, offers opportunities in the agro-processing, automotive industry, energy (solar harvesting), metals logistics, drugs, and pharmaceuticals, minerals value addition (diamond cutting), recycling, manufacturing, and tourism sectors.
The minister also implored the local community to “think big” about the immense potential that abounds in Beitbridge town.
He said it was critical for business enterprises to establish linkages with the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) towards increased collaboration and more inclusive economic growth.
Minister Ndlovu said Beitbridge town needs to quickly industrialise by taking advantage of the economic activities around the town and district.
“This district is one of the leading producers of oranges, beef and goat meat,” he said.
“Stakeholders and businesses should take time to think about value addition of these products by establishing processing plants for juice, for beef or for goat meat instead of exporting these products raw.
“More profits can be realised by value addition and let us establish industries. The business opportunities are huge and the Government will support all those who are into processing.”
Meanwhile, the Government has advised local businesses to charge reasonable prices for services and products so that consumers are not overburdened. In this regard, Minister Ndlovu said the Government will continue to support all businesses and that its doors are open for engagement.
Exhibitions like the Beitbridge Business Expo, the minister said, lead to broader market openings, joint ventures, partnerships and investment attraction.
“We’re proud that Beitbridge town is poised for growth as the border modernisation takes shape. The massive development within the town is in line with the Beitbridge border modernisation project and clearly shows that this town takes the lead as one of the fastest growing settlements in Zimbabwe,” Ndlovu added.
“A lot of good work is visible in the town among them the dualisation of the road leading to the border post, a new fire station, a 11,4 megalitres water reservoir, a new additional sewer pond and new staff houses for border staff among other developments in the town.” – @tupeyo.