BY NIZBERT MOYO
THE recently ended 62nd edition of the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF) has left the Bulawayo community oozing with confidence that the city’s comatose industries will soon be revived.
Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce (ZNCC) Matabeleland chapter chairperson Mackenzie Dongo yesterday expressed optimism that business deals clinched during the ZITF will help Bulawayo reclaim its national industrial hub tag.
“We are quite impressed with the level of exhibition and business deals clinched by our private sector players. The greatest success is that business has managed to reconvene again after it was affected by the COVID-19 challenges in the past two years. As ZNCC, we managed to sign memorandums of understanding the Angola Chamber of Commerce, the Umuahia Chamber of Commerce and other agreements with industries in the mines and agriculture sectors,” Dongo said.
This year’s ZITF was held under the theme Re-think, Re-imagine, Re-invent Value Chains for Economic Development.
Bulawayo mayor Solomon Mguni said he was happy that several countries that had stopped exhibiting due to the COVID-19 pandemic came on board this year.
“We saw some companies from the region and the trans-Limpopo region coming in to showcase their wares. We now hope that the confidence shown by these exhibitors will bring about economic growth to Bulawayo,” Mguni said.
The country’s prime trade and investment exhibition attracted more than 500 direct exhibitors of which 71 were first timers, while 14 foreign nations also exhibited at the trade fair.
Bulawayo was once the country’s industrial hub, but its factories shut down due to an economic meltdown resulting in many factory shells being rented out to churches.
Over the years, government has promised to resuscitate Bulawayo industries, but nothing has materialised.