Trade Fair kicks off to a bad start

via Trade Fair kicks off to a bad start | SW Radio Africa  by Mthulisi Mathuthu on Wednesday, April 23, 2014

The 55th edition of the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF) kicked off to a bad start this week with reports of power cuts and low attendance on the first day of the annual event.

The Southern Eye said ‘intermittent’ power cuts rocked the opening day leaving some exhibitors wondering whether Zimbabwe was serious about attracting foreign investment. Livid exhibitors were quoted as saying power supplies went off three times on Tuesday.

Congo-Brazzaville President Denis Sassou Nguesso, who was expected to officially open the event Friday, also pulled out at the last minute citing commitments in the war ravaged Central African Republic. Sassou Nguesso’s withdrawal means the ageing Mugabe will have to step in to officially open the annual event.

SW Radio Africa correspondent Lionel Saungweme said a ZESA official claimed that the power cuts were limited to exhibition hall number 4. The official blamed exhibitors at that particular hall of overloading the system with many gadgets. Saungweme said government officials were not willing to discuss Sassou Nguesso’s withdrawal but it was clear they were very unhappy about it.

ZITF Chairperson Bekithemba Nkomo said some firms reduced the size of stands as compared to previous years because of financial constraints. Since 2000 exhibitors have pulled out in large numbers as a result of the country’s rogue image and economic downturn.

However the USA has returned to the fair after a 10 year absence, alongside Bangladesh and Nigeria. Congo-Brazzaville made a maiden appearance at the ZITF. These developments meant that the number of countries participating at the country’s biggest trade exhibition increased marginally to 19.

China is the largest exhibitor with more than 1,000 square meters of exhibition space followed by South Africa. China has over the years become one the largest investors in Zimbabwe following Mugabe’s so-called ‘Look East policy’.

This year’s fair comes at a time when the ZANU PF government is promoting its controversial indigenization policy which many say is scaring investors away. According to the law, all foreign companies operating in the country must secure 51 percent ownership of shares by local Zimbabweans through partnerships with business people, community trusts and worker share trusts.

Despite indications that some ministers are having second thoughts about the policy, Mugabe is adamant. US Ambassador, Bruce Wharton, told a ZITF business conference in Bulawayo Wednesday that government policies should be ‘predictable and implemented consistently’ so as to boost investor confidence.



  • comment-avatar

    Why bother having a trade fair no one wants to invest in a country with no law and order . Indigenisation basically means all out theft to investors cloaked in some sort of legalistic rights. Another backward step . Invest where you appreciated Malawi or Mozambique,zimbabwe is an awful place to invest, everything will be stolen from you by local hoods Mugabe and his corrupt chefs,

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    roving ambassador. 9 years ago

    Robin hood , robing his on people to feed the rich. Thats Mugabe for you.

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    I have visited this year’s Trade Fair which looks like a deserted area with more security personnel than the exhibitors on sight.I was not really impressed by the standards of things being displayed since it looks like government departments have been temporarily transferred from Harare to Bulawayo for this week only.Its the usual Chinese items displayed using mostly info papers not the actual machinery.
    Ref-ZESA failure,this is normal in Zimbabwe now,so why trying to lie to the nation.If what this misguided ZESA official says is the truth then they have useless technicians and engineers working for the organisation.Surely, an over load should only affect that particular stand, if each stand is properly protected with the right size circuit breakers to avoid killing power to the whole hall.Please tell the nation more solid reasons or shut up if you do not know your system.
    I really do not think its worth my time to visit it again because when I visit there I want to see real technology in display not copy-rights.

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    Petal 9 years ago

    Keep it up and as usual China has the largest stand only pity with the ordinary people that have to put up with all the ….

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    ZPF just don’t get it. no one wants them any more. In order to rule they have to rig big time. Like a million extra votes for RGM. They have to organise top soccer matches on independence day to draw crowds. Not even the Chinese are too keen on them. I wonder if they know what the Chinese really think of us Zimbabweans? If Bob was a fly on the wall or the CIO their ears would burn off with the truth.

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    Zeezee 9 years ago

    What a joke! Zimbabwe is a laughing stock to the rest of the world!

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    John Thomas 9 years ago

    Lets hope that Mugabe stumbles and busts his head when he attends