COMMENT: ZITF exhibitors should benefit from Govt re-engagement crusade
THE President of Kenya Mr Uhuru Kenyatta will this year officially open the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair to be held in Bulawayo next month.
The 62nd edition of the ZITF runs from April 26 to 30 under the theme: “Rethink, Reimagine, Reinvent Value Chains for Economic Development”.
The ZITF board chairman Mr Busisa Moyo said all is set for the country’s premier international trade and investment showcase. He said President Kenyatta had accepted an invitation from President Mnangagwa to officiate at this year’s ZITF.
The annual trade expo which was cancelled in 2020 following the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, was last year held under strict Covid-19 health protocols.
The choice of President Kenyatta as the Guest of Honour at this year’s international and investment showcase is more than appropriate given that Zimbabwe and Kenya this week raised their relations to another level when they signed seven memoranda of understanding (MoUs).
President Mnangagwa and his high-powered delegation were in Kenya to attend the third joint Commission meeting whose outcome was the signing of the MoUs.
Mr Moyo said the business community looked forward to using President Kenyatta’s visit and participation by a business delegation from Kenya to make new connections and develop this relationship further for the mutual benefit of the two countries’ economies.
He said 87 percent of the exhibition space has already been taken and international exhibitors from Japan, Angola, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia and South Africa have already confirmed their participation.
What is encouraging is that the country is witnessing a decline in Covid-19 infections and deaths as the city of Bulawayo prepares to play host to local and international exhibitors.
Last year the ZITF passed without incident and we hope Mr Moyo and his board have put in place similar measures to protect exhibitors and visitors from the Covid-19 pandemic.
The robust health and safety protocols that were enforced by the ZITF management working closely with health officials proved very effective and as such the ZITF was not a superspreader of the pandemic despite the thousands of people who attended.
The ZITF presents an opportunity for Zimbabwe to market itself as an investment destination of choice and Bulawayo as the host city should take the lead. Bulawayo should take advantage of the fact that representatives of international and local companies will converge in the city for the five days of the fair thereby affording the city fathers an opportunity to engage them.
This is the time for the city to organise business meetings even outside the five days of the fair to explain what it offers as incentives to investors.
Companies used to run away from Bulawayo due to water shortages but this has since been addressed as the city can now guarantee investors adequate water supplies throughout the year.