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ZIMBABWE’s moves to open trade avenues with Francophone countries will culminate in the first time such a country exhibiting at the upcoming Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF).

Congo Brazzaville is will be the first such country to showcase at the Southern African country’s trade event while its President, Denis Sassou Nguesso will officially open the fair.

ZITF Company General Manager, Nomathemba Ndlovu, said although in the past individual companies from some French-speaking countries had taken part, it will be a debut at national level.

“It is the first time we have a Francophone country exhibiting at the fair,rdquo she said

This year’s trade fair will run from 22-26 April in the second city of Bulawayo under the theme, “New Ideas to New Heights.”

Ndlovu said about 90 percent of the exhibition area had been taken and at least 20 foreign countries would be represented at this year’s exhibition.

Zimbabwe, a former British colony, has in the past maintained close ties with Anglo-Saxon countries.

In recent year, like other African countries, it has also explored trade initiatives with Asian countries, especially China.

Latest figures show that trade between the two countries was now topping $1 billion annually.

The increasing trade ties with China, dubbed the Look East policy, has followed souring relations with most of Europe and the West over alleged human rights abuses and electoral by Harare.

Zimbabwe has denied such accusations, accusing the West and Europe of harboring ambitions of effecting regime change.

Source : CAJ News Agency