WATCH: Zimbabwe International Trade Fair exhibitors raring to go Belinterexpo management specialist Mr Sergei Gladyshev

Sikhulekelani Moyo, [email protected]

THE 64th edition of the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF) roars to life today with most of the exhibition stands complete.

Bulawayo will be the centre of attraction this week as it hosts the country’s annual prime trade showcase at the Zimbabwe International Exhibition Centre (ZIEC)

The trade expo, which runs until Saturday is running under the theme: “Innovation: The Catalyst to Industrialisation and Trade.”

The first three days are business days while April 26 and 27 are public days.

ZITF serves as a platform for showcasing technological innovations that can drive industrial growth and it encourages entrepreneurship by providing a platform for new businesses to connect with potential customers and investors.

Expectations are high that this year’s showcase will position local industry players to clinch major deals and expand their market.

Kenyan President, Dr William Ruto, will officially open the country’s biggest annual trade expo on Friday.

Chronicle Business yesterday toured selected stands and observed workers putting the final touches ahead of today’s opening of the ZITF.

In separate interviews, some of the exhibitors at the ZIEC said they were raring to go.

“This year, the Republic of Belarus will present the biggest stand it has ever made, we will have 31 companies represented from Belarus from different sectors, which include the food industry and pharmacy among others,” said Belinterexpo management specialist, Mr Sergei Gladyshev.

He said they brought tractors that are conducive to the Zimbabwean environment and easy to maintain.

“The aim is to help Zimbabwe to get techniques, which will help in boosting food security and nutrition,” said Mr Gladyshev.

He commended local farmers, saying they produce quality food, which matches international standards.

“I tasted some of the food in Zimbabwe and I can say Zimbabwe is on the right path. I understand you have resources, water, land, electricity,” said Mr Gladyshev.

Deputy Head of Mission for the Kenyan Embassy in Harare, Mr Lazarus Muganda said they are happy to be part of this year’s ZITF.

“We are very honoured as Kenya to have our President, His Excellency Dr William Ruto as the guest of honour who will officially be opening the event. Kenya is prepared to showcase the products and services at this ZITF,” he said.

“We are moving with the theme, which emphasises innovation and we are bringing goods that show how the products can contribute to the innovativeness of entrepreneurship in the current environment and we are very much prepared for the trade fair.”

ZimTrade Southern Region Manager, Mrs Jack Nyathi while some of the exhibitors were yet to fully set up, most of the SMEs under their purview had completed working on their stands.

“In terms of preparations, we are just about ready, just finishing up the final touches to our pavilion.

Our indirect exhibitors, the eight small and medium enterprises that we have this year are ready and raring to go,” she said.

“You find that in terms of products that we have on display this year, we cover a wide range, which includes processed foods, leather products and cosmetics, which are produced using locally sourced raw material like baobab.”

ZITF chief executive officer, Dr Nicholas Ndebele said the response has been good with 624 exhibitors confirming attendance, an increase from last year’s 565.

He said the city started receiving visitors last week.

Deputy Head of Mission for the Kenyan Embassy in Harare Mr Lazarus Muganda

“We as ZITF, the organisers of ZITF, are happy to inform the nation that all is set for the 64th edition of the ZITF. Exhibitors are still doing the final touches on their stands, ready to welcome visitors,” said Dr Ndebele. “We witnessed exhibitors working overnight in preparation for the event.”

Dr Ndebele said there has been a significant growth in terms of the number of international participants, which increased to 26 from last year’s 21.The ZITF Company has been given a mandate to lead the national branding efforts for Zimbabwe while promoting investment and economic growth.

Several high-profile meetings including the Diplomats Forum and Africa Connect Symposium will be held on the sidelines of the ZITF.

The main activities at the 2024 ZITF include the ZITF Welcome Cocktail; the ZITF International Business Conference, which will be officially opened by Vice President Constantino Chiwenga; the ZITF Charity Golf Challenge, ZITF Diplomats Forum, Connect Africa Symposium, which will be officially opened by Vice President Kembo Mohadi and the Tourism Night among others. — @SikhulekelaniM1

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