55 Edition ZITF Roars into life

The 55th edition of the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF) kicks off in Bulawayo today at the Zimbabwe Exhibition Centre with a number of exhibitors late yesterday still struggling to complete the mounting of their stands.

A survey carried out by The Zimbabwean on Tuesday revealed that some stands and pavilions had not been attended to by close of business yesterday.

“We hope to have completed, mounting stands as well as displaying our products by tomorrow morning. We delayed putting everything together because some of our exhibition material came from Harare,” said an official at the Ministry of Gender and Women’s Affairs who refused to be named.

Despite yesterday being a public holiday, hired casual workers were busy sprucing up pavilions and stands for various foreign and local exhibitors.

“Today has been a hectic day for me. Since morning, I have been painting stands for various exhibitors. Tomorrow three Harare companies have already booked my services,” said Gift Lusengo, an unemployed youth from Gwabalanda.

As has become the norm during previous exhibitions, both ZITF officials and exhibitors expressed optimism about this year’s fair which is being held under the theme “New Ideas to New Heights “ “This year’s fair is important because it coming against the backdrop of the Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation (Zim –Asset) which has been adopted by the government. We are hoping that Zim-Asset will inspire more investment into the country,” said James Tsuro, the director of Hilbrothers, a Harare based company which specializes in selling heavy duty generators.

Andrzey Krezel, head of the commercial section at the embassy of the Republic of Poland said the embassy is pleased to be participating at this year’s trade fair.

“We are ready for the fair and so far everything has gone smoothly. We are here to market products from our country which includes medical equipment,” said Krezel. ZITF general Noma Ndlovu said 92 percent of the net 55 000 square metres exhibition space has been booked compared to the closing total of 94 percent recorded last year.

The exhibition space includes halls, pavilions and external cites.

China is once again the largest foreign exhibitor at the trade fair which will be officially opened by Congo Brazzaville president Denis Sassou Nguesso on Friday.

Chinese exhibitors this year occupy 1 061 square metres of exhibition space, up from 600 square metres last year. South Africa which is occupying 800 square metres comes second after China.

Over the past years, the country’s flagship business exhibition has struggled to attract foreign exhibitors especial those from Europe.

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