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Zimbabwe Trade Fair Regains Foreign Exhibitors as Economy Shows Signs of Life

In recent years the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair has been an empty shell in consequence of the country's steep economic decline in the past decade, but now foreign companies are showing new interest in participating

Foreign participation in the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair has been rebounding this year, according to organizers who credit the turnaround to the generally improved economic and political situation.

Trade Fair General Manager Daniel Chigaru said most of the exhibitors and potential investors come from member countries of the Southern African Development Community and the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa – but also from Germany, Turkey, China, India and Pakistan.

Chigaru said some enterprises from these countries are scouting investment opportunities in Zimbabwe.

“Apart from that we have many local exhibitors who have not participated in this event during the past 10 years who have shown keen interest in participating in this year’s commercial event,” Chigaru said.

He told VOA Studio 7 reporter Gibbs Dube that due to the strong response from exhibitors and investors, his organization has engaged international agents to step up marketing of this year’s event. The trade fair will run for four days starting April 20 in Bulawayo.

In recent years the trade fair has been an empty shell in consequence of the country's accelerating economic decline over the past decade, drawing mostly state-run enterprises and some Chinese companies.

But the economy has shown signs of recovery since the installation of a government of national unity in 2009 and Harare's official re-engagement with the West and international financial institutions.