Golden Sibanda in Dubai, UAE
Deputy Chief Secretary in the Office of the President and Cabinet (OPC), Dr Martin Rushwaya, leader of the logistics team behind Zimbabwe’s participation at Expo 2020 Dubai, has described the country’s preparedness at the ongoing premium global exhibition in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), as highly impressive.
More than 25 million visitors are expected to attend the global exhibition over the six-month period. Vice President Constantino Chiwenga is here in Dubai, leading a delegation of five key Cabinet ministers for the Global Forum Africa (GBFA) slated for Wednesday and Thursday this week, which runs on the sidelines of the expo.
He will also tour Zimbabwe’s and a selected few other countries’ pavilions at the global expo, meet the Zimbabwe living in the Gulf region as well as hold meetings with prospective investors into Zimbabwe.
Zimbabwe, after nearly two decades of economic malaise, has instituted extensive reforms on policy and legislation, as well as embarked on doing business conditions, with a view to attract and promote both domestic and foreign investments.
The efforts have started to bear fruit amid projections by Treasury that the economy would expand by an estimated 7,8 percent this year, a quantum leap following to successive recessions in 2019 and 2020; all despite the long shadow of Covid-19.
Speaking after touring Zimbabwe’s pavilion at the expo, which opened on October 1, 2021 and runs until March 31, next year, Dr Rushwaya pledged maximum support to Zimbabwe’s efforts in Dubai to ensure the country accomplishes its objective of attracting significant investments.
“It is quite impressive, we have come as a team comprising the OPC, Ministry of Finance and Economic Development, Public Service Commission; to assess, after the official opening of the expo, what we set out to do; the state of preparedness that they have done and if there are any challenges, then we sort them out,” he said.
“So far, we are quite impressed by what we have seen, we look forward to continuing to support them in terms of the logistics they require; they are saying they are still expecting some more staff, as you are aware, the expo runs until March 31, 2022, so we want to continue to give them maximum support.”
Dr Rushwaya said Zimbabwe had limitless trade and investment opportunities and the objective of participating at the expo was to showcase the potential to the entire world.
“The people (potential investors) that have come so far are quite impressed by what they have seen so far and we expect more people to come and see for themselves and hear for themselves what Zimbabwe can offer.”
Dr Rushwaya said the Government’s ultimate goal was to attract as much investment as possible, adding “from what I have heard from the Expo 2020 Dubai Commissioner General (Ambassador Mary Mubi), there is a lot of interest, we look forward to clinching some deals in terms of investments into our country,” he said.
The first World Expo to be held in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia (MEASA) region was off to a great start, with Expo 2020 Dubai welcoming 411 768 ticketed visits in its first 10 days.
After opening its doors on October 1, figures up to and including October 10 show that visitors belonged to 175 nationalities — not far off the 192 countries that are participating in the event, each with its own pavilion.
One in three has come from abroad, with this proportion expected to increase as international travel ramps up.