First Lady Auxilia Mnangagwa says the “Zimbabwe is Open for Business” campaign is bearing fruit as evidenced by the high turnout of international exhibitors at this year`s Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF) in Bulawayo.
The premier trade showcase which celebrates its 60th anniversary this year had all its exhibition space taken up by over 530 companies from 16 countries.
The trade which opened on Tuesday will run until Saturday.
Addressing the media after touring some of the stands, the first lady said the conducive environment in the country made it easy for foreigners to attend the fair.
“The presence of foreign companies shows that Zimbabwe is now open for business,” she said.
“I saw foreigners from Japan, the United States of America and other countries coming all that far and it tells a story that Zimbabwe’s environment is conducive, people are lovely and we are a free country.”
She highlighted that the environment is not only open not for foreigners but for locals who have impressive stands at the trade fair.
“As you know ZITF has been oversubscribed which shows that people have shown an interest in showcasing what they are doing in their companies.
“I am happy that youths have come to showcase what they do. I encourage them to bring more youths next year because we want to develop our nation through our hands.”
Mrs Mnangagwa said some of the products exhibited by women would be taken to victims of Cyclone Idai in Chimanimani.
“I also saw women who are doing everything; they are producing everything including herbs and nutritious porridge for children. I engaged with the Minister of Health so that these women produce the nutritious porridge in bulk and be sent to Idai Cyclone victims. Most of the children there are malnourished.”
Uganda’s Ambassador to Zimbabwe Barbara Nekesa Oundo who accompanied the first lady said the trade fair was impressive.
“What l am seeing today is showcasing the talent we have in Africa I have seen sectors of agriculture, mining, ICT,” she said.
She called on African countries to work together through trade and develop the continent.
“What l want us to do as Africa is to work together as a continent and make sure we trade amongst ourselves,” Ambassador Oundo said.
“There are already about twenty-two countries which have signed to the African Free Trade Area. I want to urge those countries who have not yet signed up to do so very fast so that we can have the trade among the continent countries booming and growing.”
“Intra-regional trade is very important because we are getting a lot of money out of this continent yet we can retain the money within the continent. We can use this money to help boost our infrastructure,” she said.