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The 55th edition of the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair roars into life in Bulawayo today with President Mugabe expected to officially open the fair on Friday.

Due to unforeseen circumstances, Congo-Brazzaville’s president Denis Sassou Nguesso can no longer open the premier trade event.Industry and Commerce Minister Mike Bimha yesterday said: “ZITF is now being officially opened by President Mugabe. I do not know why there was a change, but all I can say is that it has been confirmed that our President will officially open the ZITF.”

This year’s ZITF is themed: “New Ideas to New Heights — Progress through Innovation”.

The five-day trade expo draws exhibitors from across the globe and comes at a time when the economic blueprint, the Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation (Zim-Asset), is in full swing.

Yesterday evening the ZITF Grounds were a hive of activity as exhibitors put final touches to their stands. More exhibitors are expected to arrive today.

Chinese and Congo-Brazzaville delegates and Indonesian and Zambian businesspeople among others from various countries were inspecting the grounds yesterday.

The first three days of the expo are dedicated to commerce with an international business conference scheduled for tomorrow.

“Technology and Innovation: A Key Pillar for Zim-Asset Successful Implementation” will be the theme for the business conference where Vice President Joice Mujuru will be among the guest speakers.

The trade expo is open to the public on Friday and Saturday.

Most of the exhibition space at the fair has been taken up with international exhibitors from China, Indonesia, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Botswana, Kenya, Brazil, Iran, Zambia and the United States participating.

There has been an overwhelming uptake of space in 2014, raising expectations that this year’s show will be better than previous ones.

ZITF is one of the largest trade fairs south of the Sahara and will feature product groups like machinery and expertise in infrastructure development, manufacturing and processing, equipment innovation, livestock and farm produce among others.

Source : The Herald