Harare — MORE than 400 exhibitors are participating at the 2009 Zimbabwe International Trade Fair which begins in Bulawayo today.
The 50th edition of the fair gives Zimbabwe the first major opportunity to showcase its trade and investment potential since the formation of the inclusive Government in February.
ZITF Company general manager Mr Daniel Chigaru yesterday said 10 countries are taking part.
"We have a total of 10 countries taking part at this year's Trade Fair.
"However, I cannot precisely give accurate numbers of companies from individual countries that will participate at the Trade Fair because some of them are still coming, even at the moment.
"However, if you phone tomorrow during this time, we will have the accurate number," he said.
President Rupiah Banda of Zambia is expected to officially open Zimbabwe's premier trade and investment showcase on Thursday.
This year's exhibition will run from April 28 to May 2 and is being held under the theme "Golden Opportunity for Dynamic Take-off".
Countries taking part include China, South Africa, Indonesia, Kenya, Zambia, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia and Botswana.
The International Exhibition Centre was a hive of activity yesterday as exhibitors made final touches on their displays.
This year's Trade Fair comes amid renewed hope in the economic revival of the country following the formation of the inclusive Government by the country's three main political parties.
Although official figures of the total number of exhibitors participating at the 2009 Trade Fair could not be ascertained yesterday, the showcase is expected to be one of the best in recent years as Zimbabwe's economy shows signs of recovery.
Industrial capacity, which had been subdued due to foreign currency shortages spawned by the illegal economic sanctions, has started to pick up and the fair provides an opportunity for the country to showcase its potential to the outside world.
The Trade Fair begins with exhibitors from regional and international countries having confirmed participation.
The Malawian stand it was a hive of activity with officials displaying an assortment of their wares.
National Pharmaceutical Company business development manager Ms Miriam Rungwende said this year's Trade Fair would have many exhibitors, considering the liberalisation of the economy and the formation of the inclusive Government.
The multi-sectional fair also provides the best and most convenient trade venue in Southern Africa.
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai is expected to officially open the annual International Business Conference that runs concurrently with ZITF.
The conference, organised by the ZITF Company and the National Economic Consultative Forum, will be held under the theme "Facilitating Business as the Engine of Growth in the Reconstruction of the Zimbabwean Economy".
Speakers to address the business conference include Finance Minister Tendai Biti, Tourism and Hospitality Industry Minister Walter Mzembi, Mines and Mining Development Minister Obert Mpofu, Regional Integration and International Co-operation Minister Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga, Information and Communication Technology Minister Nelson Chamisa, Economic Planning and Investment Promotion Deputy Minister Samuel Undenge and Industry and Commerce Minister Welshman Ncube.
Zesa Holdings has given assurances that the International Exhibition Centre and its surroundings will not be affected by load shedding during ZITF 2009 to ensure the smooth running of the showcase.