THE Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF), which kicks off in two weeks time, has managed to attract only two new exhibitors despite claims by the government that the country’s relations with
the international community have improved.
This year’s trade fair will see only 11 countries taking part in the waning national showcase. Nine countries took part at ZITF last year.
Preparations for this year’s trade fair, whose theme is “Promoting inter-regional trade”, kicked off without the company’s chairman, Mthuli Ncube, who is allegedly on the run from law enforcement agents on allegations of externalising foreign currency.
At a press briefing this week, Industry and International Trade minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi dismissed claims that the international community was snubbing Zimbabwe.
“The increase in the number of countries taking part indicates that the countries are showing confidence in Zimbabwe,” said Mumbengegwi.
“They come because they see mutual indications of trade opportunities.”
Commenting on Ncube’s absence, Mumbengegwi said this would not affect the running of the fair.
“The ZITF chairman is not here but things are moving on. It’s not true that his absence is compromising the ZITF,” he said.
Quizzed on the absence of major European countries at the show Mumbengegwi said people only thought of the international community in the sphere of European states.
“There are over 100 countries in the world and there are people who tend to think that when you talk about the international community you are talking about Europe but that is not it. We have other countries and we are happy with the international response to the ZITF,” he said.
Asked about the absence of the majority of countries from the Far East that government has been targeting as economic trading partners, Mumbengegwi cited the presence of China as representing the Far East.
A total of 401 local exhibitors will take part at the 2004 Trade Fair representing an increase of only two exhibitors from last year’s figure of 399.
Other countries taking part at ZITF are Botswana, Malawi, Kenya, Italy, Nigeria, Mozambique and Austria.