Zim, Kenya joint deals anchor ZITF opening . . . as President Ruto jets in tomorrow

Herald Reporters

ALL roads lead to Bulawayo this week as President Mnangagwa will be hosting his Kenyan counterpart, Dr William Ruto, who will officially open the 64th edition of the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF) on Friday.

The two Presidents will also witness the signing of a number of Memoranda of Understanding agreed upon by their officials at the 4th Zimbabwe/Kenya Joint Permanent Commission, which opened in Harare on Sunday.

Addressing a Post-Cabinet media briefing yesterday, Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister, Dr Jenfan Muswere, said Cabinet received a report on the State visit by President Ruto to officially open ZITF on Friday.

“Cabinet received and noted the report on the State visit by His Excellency Dr William Samoei Ruto, President of the Republic of Kenya as presented by Honourable Dr Frederick Shava, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade.

“The nation is informed that His Excellency the President, Dr Emmerson Mnangagwa, invited his counterpart, His Excellency, Dr William Samoei Ruto, President of the Republic of Kenya, to officiate at the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF) 2024.

“The two Presidents will witness the signing of a number of Memoranda of Understanding agreed upon by the officials at the Zimbabwe/Kenya Joint Permanent Commission,” said Dr Muswere.

Zimbabwe and Kenya held their 4th JPCC in Harare, which was aimed at broadening cooperation between the countries.The JPCC will offer an opportunity for the two countries to deepen their relationship for mutual benefit.

Vice Presidents Dr Constantino Chiwenga and Cde Kembo Mohadi will also be actively engaged at ZITF to lead key business engagements with stakeholders from different sectors of the economy.

Today, VP Chiwenga takes centre stage as he will be the guest of honour at the ZITF International Business Conference, a critical platform that is expected to be attended by the who is who in business and the economy. According to the programme, the event starts in the morning until later in the afternoon.

Tomorrow, VP Mohadi will preside over the Connect Africa Symposium, which starts in the morning until later in the afternoon, focusing on key economic issues and locating Zimbabwe in the broader context of the regional and global economy.

On Friday, President Mnangagwa and President Ruto are expected to conduct a tour of stands and interact with dozens of exhibitors.

Vice Presidents Chiwenga and Mohadi will also accompany the two leaders for the ZITF official opening ceremony later in the afternoon.

In an update yesterday, Industry and Commerce Minister Nqobizitha Ndlovu, urged exhibitors to capitalise on the ZITF platform to clinch new business deals.

“I want to welcome all our visitors and exhibitors to the 64th edition of the ZITF. It has kicked off and it is all busy out there. Let us interact and establish new supply and distribution deals as we network,” he said.

“Let us also utilise this platform to clinch new business deals. Bulawayo is a hospitable city, come and enjoy.”

Minister Ndlovu said ZITF 2024 promises to be one of the best trade fairs in recent history. The exhibition space is at 100 percent occupancy, with an additional tent erected to accommodate the overflow.

As always, ZITF serves as a launchpad for technological advancements that can propel industrial growth. It also fosters entrepreneurship by providing a platform for new businesses to connect with potential customers and investors.

Held under the theme, “Innovation: The Catalyst to Industrialisation and Trade,” expectations are high that this year’s event will empower local players to secure major deals and expand their market reach.

On Sunday, Minister Ndlovu said: “We are quite excited again because this year we have recorded yet another increase in terms of the number of exhibitions. We are talking about 100 percent occupation space and we had to put a tent outside to accommodate those who couldn’t get space indoors.

“In terms of the direct number of exhibitors, this year there are 624, an increase from last year’s 565. The number of foreign countries exhibiting increased to 26 from 21 last year.

“We are quite optimistic that the figures will continue to increase. This year, we have 136 first-time exhibitors compared to 103 last year. We are excited about the upward trend in most of the areas that we are assessing.

“Countries that were not here last year include Brazil, the Kingdom of Eswatini, Indonesia, North Korea, Namibia and Romania. Following His Majesty King Mswati’s visit last year, we are seeing exhibitors from his country participating at the ZITF.”

Minister Ndlovu also confirmed the busy schedule of the Presidium.

“The International Business Conference, whose guest of honour will be Vice President Chiwenga, is a very important platform where we delve deeply into issues of both domestic and international economies. It will be an interesting one, following the introduction of the new currency and it is already oversubscribed,” he said.

“We also have the ZITF Innovators Forum, which will be running for two days and this is the space for young people who will be taking centre stage. There will be the Connect Africa Symposium, which will be opened by Vice-President Mohadi and we will have officials from my ministry, ZimTrade, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade and other players within the international trade space.”

Minister Ndlovu said President Ruto’s esteemed presence as the guest of honour underscores President Mnangagwa’s serious commitment to welcoming investors and fostering an open, business-friendly environment in Zimbabwe.

“We are ready and geared up to host the ZITF which will be a success. It is interesting to interact with exhibitors and open opportunities for trade and investment. As more countries come, they also create an opportunity to open new lines of trade and business,” he said.

“We want to pitch our messaging around ZITF 2024 mainly on the issue of leveraging on innovation to promote trade and investment in the country. It is also a tribute to the President for opening Zimbabwe for business and for his charm offensive in being a friend to all and an enemy to none.”

The theme for ZITF 2024, “Entrepreneurship: The Catalyst to Industrialisation and Trade”, underscores the importance of entrepreneurship in driving economic growth, fostering innovation and propelling industrialisation and trade.

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