Oliver Kazunga, Senior Business Reporter
THE Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF) Company has introduced the inaugural Diplomats Forum, an annual event starting at this year’s fair, with a view to promote the Government’s re-engagement drive with the international community.
Following the coming into power of the Second Republic led by President Mnangagwa in November 2017, the new political administration has been on a re-engagement offensive with the international community after close to two decades of isolation from the global scene.
The country was isolated from the international community through the illegal economic sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe by Britain and her allies after the successful Land Reform Programme in 2000.
Addressing a Press conference in Bulawayo yesterday, ZITF Company chairman Mr Busisa Moyo said one of the major highlights at this year’s trade fair slated for next week was the ZITF Diplomats Forum.
“On 24 September, ZITF in conjunction with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade and the Zimbabwe Investment Development Agency (Zida) will host its inaugural ZITF Diplomats Forum, which is set to provide a tripartite discussion forum for the Zimbabwean Government, business leaders and foreign investors represented by the foreign delegations participating and foreign diplomatic missions based in Zimbabwe,” he said.
“So, this is a new event that previously wasn’t there but in the interest of re-engagement, re-collection, we are going to have this event where we discuss and engage.”
Responding to questions from the floor, Mr Moyo said all what ZITF Company was doing through the inaugural Diplomats Forum was providing a platform for ambassadors to meet with the Government and the private sector in Zimbabwe.
He said this was in line with the thrust of the National Development Strategy and Vision 2030, which enunciated a desire for re-engagement and economic diplomacy. President Mnangagwa is expected to officially open the trade fair on September 23.
The four-day event, which begins on September 21 to 24 will this year run under the theme, “Showcasing the new normal for business and industry: realities and opportunities.”
It will have three exclusive business days from September 21 to 23. From September 21 to 22, the trade fair will host the Innovators’ Forum, and the ZITF International Business Conference hosted in conjunction with the National Economic Consultative Forum on the 23rd.
Taking place virtually on September 24, the Scholastica Conference will spotlight the need for integration of e-learning solutions into the existing education system and other issues pertaining to the future of education in Zimbabwe.
September 24, which will also be a public day where the general consuming public would have an opportunity to come through and sample the innovations launched by industry in the last two years.
So far, a total of 357 direct exhibitors have booked and confirmed participation on 40 109 square metres of exhibition space. From the above total, 11 percent are first time exhibitors that Mr Moyo said would be displaying a wide range of products and services including automobile and automotive equipment, industrial hemp, financial services and fintech, medical equipment, real estate and property development, and mining equipment, among others.
“In terms of geographical mix, 62 percent of confirmed local exhibitors are from Harare, 25 percent are from Bulawayo, 10 percent from other towns and three percent foreign,” he said.
“A total of 10 countries are participating namely: Botswana, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Indonesia, Kenya, Malawi, Mauritius, Namibia, Nigeria, South Africa and Tanzania.” — @okazunga