ZITF roars into life today
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By yesterday evening, ZITF grounds were a hive of activity as most companies were putting final touches on their stands while others were arriving.
A group of Kenyans was also spotted with its wares as they arrived at the ZITF grounds.
South African Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Mr Vusi Mavimbela, and Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, Ms Elizabeth Thabethe, also arrived in the City of Kings yesterday and paid a courtesy call on Bulawayo Mayor Councillor Thaba in his parlour.
Ms Thabethe urged Bulawayo companies to exploit the business showcase and boost their businesses.
"Zimbabwe was once an economic powerhouse with Bulawayo as its industrial hub. Through regional integration such as the trade fair, Bulawayo can regain its status as the industrial giant. This is the biggest event for the city and local companies should utilise this opportunity to strike partnerships," said Ms Thabethe.
She said her country has strong bilateral relations with Zimbabwe dating back to the days of the liberation struggle and pledged her country's commitment towards working with Zimbabwe in reviving industries.
Ms Thabethe said there were 32 companies from South Africa that were participating at the trade showcase including small to medium enterprises.
She also said her delegation has brought with it the popular music group, Ihatshi Elimhlophe.
The South African delegation would hold its dinner gala at a local hotel tonight while the Bulawayo City Council would have its reception at the VIP Lounge at the ZITF today at 6pm
Clr Moyo also urged foreign companies who are participating at the ZITF to invest in Bulawayo.
"The trade fair is coming at a time when we are having many challenges as most companies in the city are finding it difficult to operate. A total of 87 companies have closed or relocated from the city," he said.
"We are saying with big neighbours like South Africa and others, this is the opportunity for us to engage. Bulawayo used to be the industrial power house and that can be revived through partnerships."
The theme for this year's ZITF is "Investing locally, reaping globally".
Zambian President Michael Sata will officially open it on Friday, a day before the show ends.
Tomorrow, there would be an International Business Conference where Vice-President Joice Mujuru would be the guest speaker.
More than 200 delegates are expected to attend the business conference to run under the theme "Investing locally, building local capacity and reaping dividends globally, turning a rich resource base into an industrial hub".
On Sunday, ZITF company marketing and public relations manager Mrs Nomathemba Ndlovu said China had the biggest delegation of 200 from 35 companies.
Other international exhibitors from Indonesia, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, and Zambia arrived in the country on Saturday.
Mrs Ndlovu said there was an overwhelming uptake of space this year and expressed optimism that this year's showcase would be better than the past years.
This year the ZITF Company managed to facelift the exhibition structures such as the tarmac around the grounds.
Reports are that 62 percent of loyal exhibitors returned this year, while first-time exhibitors accounted for 38 percent.
Other foreign exhibitors are from Pakistan, Botswana, Kenya, Brazil, Iran Italy, Poland and Germany.
Meanwhile, police have declared zero tolerance to crime during the ZITF period and warned that those caught on the wrong side of the law would be arrested.
In an interview yesterday at the Zimbabwe Republic Police stand at the ZITF grounds, national police spokesperson Superintendent Andrew Phiri said police would as usual, be in full force to guard against crime.
"Everyone should be assured of safety during and after the trade fair. We want to reassure our international visitors that they are safe and we will have police on patrol everywhere even away from the trade fair grounds. That is why our theme this year is, â€˜ZRP for total peace, stability and progress'," said Supt Phiri.
The police spokesperson said as police, they were concerned about the safety of people and property, as criminals usually take advantage of the absence of property owners to break in.
He urged members of the public not to leave their property unattended.
"Over the years young children have gone missing especially on such gatherings as the trade fair.
"Parents should not let their children move around alone as this results in them getting lost. In the event minor children go missing, people should always go to the police post and we will be there to assist.
"Members of the public should also not leave their homes unattended but leave someone they trust and this also applies to companies who should not take all their staff to the trade fair as this will leave their property in danger," said Supt Phiri.
He appealed to members of the public to play a role in fighting crime by assisting the police to maintain peace.
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