Nqobile Bhebhe, Senior Business Reporter
The outcome of the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZIFT) has been described as being beyond expectation as the quality of local products on display was unprecedented further cementing calls for value addition.
Industry and Commerce Minister, Dr Sekai Nzenza told the media today (Saturday) in Bulawayo that there was a high movement of value chains as shown by the quality of local products on display.
“I would like to outline that the quality of the exhibition and products displayed were unprecedented in Zimbabwe. This was a successful ZITF”
Dr Nzenza commended the business community for taking heed to President Mnangagwa’s call for private sector-led growth.
Dr Nzenza said this year’s edition was different as industry players managed to identify the shortcomings that plague the sector.
She said the number of imports mostly of products that could be easily produced in the country was choking the sector.
“The keyword is imports. We have a National Development Strategy 1 which focuses on moving up those value chains and that is the theme for this year’s exhibition.
“With President Mnangagwa’s vision, we aim to bring value to the natural products that we already have. This is what we call import substitution and we developed a local content policy and use innovation to develop those products.
Dr Nzenza said the Covid-19 pandemic presented the country with an opportunity to implement the local content policy.
“Before Covid-19, a lot was coming into the country which we could produce ourselves. We took Covid-19 as an opportunity to begin to implement our local content policy where we identified some of the key products that can be made locally.
“What was showcased at ZITF shows that we have started to re-imagine, re-invent looking at technology and innovation”
“My aim as the minister is to reduce the number of products imported and given the Africa Continental Free Trade Area, this is a great opportunity for Zimbabwe where we will be able to process our agricultural products locally and export them to the region and beyond,”
The minister said the presence of international exhibitors and guests at conferences shows the level of confidence they have in Zimbabwe.
“What also came out of ZITF was the increasing connection between us and international companies. We had the Dangote Group of Companies represented and various embassies.
“It was exciting to see that confidence among international organizations and the diplomatic corps is increasing towards the Second Republic and in what our President Mnangagwa is doing”.
The country’s prime trade and investment expo which ends today was being held under the theme, “Rethink, Reimagine, Reinvent Value Chains for Economic Development,”.
President Mnangagwa officially opened the exposition on Friday (yesterday).
Officially opening the 62nd Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF) President Mnangagwa urged all Zimbabweans to be patriotic and to work collectively towards achieving Vision 2030 which seeks to transform Zimbabwe into an upper-middle-income economy by 2030.
Meanwhile, ZITF chairman, Mr Busisa Moyo said a total of 45 786 square meters was taken up representing 93 per cent of the available space.
On local participation, 63 per cent of the exhibitors came from Harare while 23 per cent were from Bulawayo and 14 per cent from other cities.
Article Source: The Chronicle