Updates by Prosper Ndlovu
15:31 – President Mnangagwa declares the 61st edition of ZITF officially opened and ends his speech
15:30 – “The intricate link between trade and regional integration cannot be overemphasised and says Zimbabwean businesses must position themselves for this opportunity under the African Continental Free Trade Area.
“Finally, I invite exhibitors to continue making use of the ZITF platform to explore various opportunities that Zimbabwe has to offer.”
15:28 – “The ongoing vaccination programme is bringing hope to Zimbabwe, especially to the revival of the tourism sector.
“The stability and provision of adequate energy is a priority, urges private sector to invest in renewable energy.”
15:27 – President Mnangagwa says early next month he will be opening part of the upgraded Beitbridge Border Post, which is being rehabilitated to the tune of US$300 million.
15:26 – He urges MSMEs to ride on the simplified tax regime to contribute more to the economy and says youth and women must also play ball and grab available opportunities.
15:25 – The President challenges industries to adopt latest technology and develop solutions that assist consumer convenience including digitisation and creating synergies and collaborations with start-ups at institutions of higher learning.
15:23 – President Mnangagwa commends private sector resilience and the drive to adopt local content policy, “you deserve due commendation”.
He says Zimbabwe is one of the leading growing economies in the region and also among top movers on the doing business improvement index.
“Government is unwavering in its commitment to implement bold measures to make Zimbabwe a leading business destination.
“Our businesses and industry are adapting to the new realities and Govt will continue to priorities support for producers. Ministries and Government agencies should speed up procurement and facilitate growth of the private sector.”
15:18 – Despite Covid-19, he says ZITF continues to become better, and this is testimony of stakeholder confidence in the local economy.
The President says the reengagement drive is critical in growing exports and penetrating the global market and commends the introduction of the Diplomats Forum at ZITF this year, and urges investors to take advantage of the diverse opportunities in Zimbabwe.
15:15 – President Mnangagwa now takes to the podium to deliver his keynote address…
He welcomes all delegates and says Zimbabwe is pleased to host foreign exhibitors to explore trade and investment prospects.
15:12 – Minister Nzenza introduces President Mnangagwa…
15:11 – She says hosting of ZITF very significant at this time when the Government is driving at revitalising the productive sector with bias of reawakening domestic value chains.
15:01 – Industry and Commerce Minister, Dr Sekai Nzenza now takes to the podium
14:59 – Reverend Sarah Nyathi of Harvest House International Church now leading the gathering in prayer, paving way for official speeches.
14:45 – President Mnangagwa has completed the inspection of the parade. And has granted the parade commander permission to march off the parade square.
14:35 – President Mnangagwa now inspecting the parade, accompanied by ZDF Commander General PV Sibanda.
14:30 – President Mnangagwa’s convoy now enters the ZITF arena, with a fly past bringing cheer to the sizeable gathering as the expo organisers limited attendance numbers in observance of COVID-19 mitigation measures.
14:18 – Now arrives Zanu PF Vice President Cde Kembo Mohadi
14:08 – Service chiefs now arriving led by ZDF commander General PV Sibanda
14:00 – Dignitaries have started arriving at the VIP section and the military parade has taken its position.
President Mnangagwa is at at ZITF and is set to officially open the country’s premier business expo this afternoon.
Earlier on, the President visited and interacted with exhibitors.
A total of 396 local direct exhibitors and 11 countries — Botswana, South Africa, Democratic Republic of Congo, Belarus, Indonesia, Kenya, Malawi, Mauritius, Namibia, Nigeria and Tanzania — are participating at the trade fair.
This year’s edition is running under the theme “Showcasing the New Normal for Business and Industry: Realities and Opportunities”.
ZITF is being held under strict Covid-19 guidelines with persons under 18 not allowed to attend as part of efforts to curb the disease from spreading among children.
The successful hosting of the multi-sectoral expo is a milestone for Zimbabwe, coming at a time when the country has just re-opened its economy and is gearing towards a post-Covid-19 recovery.
Organisers of the show have also enlisted the help of the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority and key stakeholders in communicating and enforcing health and safety protocols outside the exhibition centre.
The ZITF 2021 was this year postponed twice, in April and August due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
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