THE recently held and oversubscribed 63rd Edition of the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF) was yet another confirmation that the country is a key player in the emerging global economy which is shifting from the old order to the home-grown solution-based model.
Over the years, the country could only unlock its potential on a limited scale due to a combination of factors, among them the Western-sponsored illegal economic sanctions, there is now a seismic shift in trajectory since the coming in of the Second Republic.
The Second Republic has embarked on an aggressive engagement and re-engagement drive among a coterie of sound interventions, including making use of local resources to develop the economy.
This year’s edition of the ZITF, like everything else that the country has embarked on since November 2017, confirmed the success of that drive.
A 27 percent increase in the number of exhibitors, coupled with foreign participation, shooting to 21 from 13 last year and a total of 600, up from 471 exhibitors, with more than 100 participating at the Fair for the first time highlights the success of the Second Republic’s quest to make Zimbabwe great again.
Zimbabwe has been steadily coming out of the woods, harnessing local resources to embark on a massive infrastructure rehabilitation and development thrust that has left a smirk on the faces of the sponsors of the illegal economic sanctions.
And this year, they could not be left out of the country’s economic revival and development agenda.
The US and the UK, principal drivers and sponsors of those sanctions, were there at the ZITF, exhibiting at the Fair they had unfairly snubbed over the years as they chose aggression over sanity where Zimbabwe is concerned. Zimbabwe’s crime, in their eyes, was economically empowering its citizens by giving them access to own and control the means of production.
The EU Mission to Zimbabwe, which has been gradually warming up to Zimbabwe’s engagement and re-engagement drive, made its debut at ZITF, a sign they have finally come to terms with the inexorable fact that the country’s noble charge towards economic redemption is unstoppable.
Of course, and as one would expect, the usual attention-seeking antics from the country’s opponents were very much on display.
They tried, but with no success, to sway global attention from ZITF and Zimbabwe through their now provocative abuse of the social media with their tired lies that the country is under siege from the leadership.
That too, as has been the case with their smear campaign on the country, duly failed.
We are now firmly on the path where the authorities have to take stern action against rowdy elements in our midst, and that action is coming, so too is the winter of their discontent.
The country has to maintain peace and stability, the masses have to enjoy the same, undisturbed.
Those antics do not, and cannot, take away the glow from the ZITF.
There are always those who see the vision, embrace it and walk the talk.
These are the masses who thronged Bulawayo for the Fair; the masses whose memories are in tandem with the ideals and values of the liberation struggle which the opposition wants to erase from their psyche.
And the guest of honour, His Majesty King Mswati III, aptly captured the mood in Bulawayo and, indeed, across Zimbabwe, deftly describing how the country has defied the odds.
“Your Excellency (President Emmerson Mnangagwa), when I got the invitation you extended to me to come and open this trade fair, I immediately accepted because trade fairs are corner pillars of trade growth where big and small businesses exhibit their products.
Mr President, it is a great pleasure and honour for me to be in Zimbabwe, one of the most resilient economies in Africa, our own land,” said King Mswati.
“Zimbabwe has been through turbulent times and yet continues to thrive economically and is peaceful. This is a great demonstration to the world that Africa can find and implement her own solutions to issues and cases that are uniquely African.
I must say the last time I was here in Bulawayo was in the 90s, 1995 to be precise. I must confess that the vibe this year is getting stronger and stronger. You know, even when I landed this morning, looking at the infrastructure, there are totally new structures; new roads, new highways.
Hearty congratulations to the people and Government of Zimbabwe.”
He went on, lauding the country’s engagement and re-engagement policy:
“I just want to say something about this, even King Sobhuza II (his father) educated us that in life you should not have an enemy but rather reach out to your enemies and win their hearts.”
This is what Zimbabwe has always striven to achieve not because we are a weak nation and people, but peace and solidarity and our warm hearts are what has defined us all this while.
Those still clinging on to the vain hope that they can sponsor their acolytes to divide the nation are in for a rude awakening.
Let those with ears listen.