By Brighton Ncube- My Bulawayo News reporter

Bulawayo- The 58th edition of the Zimbabwe international trade fair(ZITF) has started and this year’s exhibition promises to be the cut above the rest.The exhibition will be officially opened by his excellency the President of Namibia Hage Geingob on Friday. This year exhibition is run under the theme “Harnessing Linkages for Industrial development”

ZITF Company general manager Nomathemba Ndlovu speaking at a press conference she highlighted that for the last three to four years, their strategy had been to rebrand the ZITF to bring its focus back to industry. The exhibitors have hailed this year’s edition as the cut above the rest.

“For ZITF 2017, we have invited international business delegations and potential investors to meet our local industry players as we seek to encourage business linkages and mutually-beneficial working relationships to promote industrial development,” Ndlovu said.

“In line with the Southern African Development Community and African Union thrust, the ZITF 2017 will be one of the key platforms that the Ministry of Industry and Commerce will use to popularise the region’s industrialisation theme.”

Zimbabwe is currently suffering from severe deindustrialisation since the turn of the century due to poor economic policies.

As such, manufacturing firms are operating under subdued capacity.

Ndlovu said both at the ZITF International Business Conference and CZI/ZITF Manufacturers’ Forum that will be taking place on 26 and 27 April 2017 respectively, policy makers and key decision makers will have vibrant discussions focusing on strategies for sustainable industrial development.

“As a value-add to our participants, we will also be introducing a new forum to profile innovations which will be a launch pad for home-grown solutions to tackle industry challenges,” she said.Over 42 000 square metres has been sold to date, occupied by 385 direct exhibitors, Ndlovu said.

Foreign countries that have confirmed participation include Botswana, China, Ethiopia, Germany, Indonesia, Iran, Japan, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa and Turkey.

Speaking to some local and foreign exhibitors at this year’s exhibition , they expressed their happiness about how the trade fair started and the response from the people. ” i am delighted to be part of this year’s exhibition and i really love the theme for this year and its a great opportunity to network and make business” expressed one Indonesian exhibitor.

The five day exhibition started on a high note on Tuesday with various activities lined up, it saw school students attending the Scholastica, where they were educated on careers and given training on leadership in their communities.Scholastica brings together institutions , career consultants, industry experts.This year saw renowned success coach, author, motivational speaker Jonah Nyoni headlining this year’s training.
The trade fair will run concurrently with sector -specific expos, A’sambeni Africa business Tourism Expo, Ultimate Home, Pakprint and Scholastica.

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