LIVE UPDATES BY: SKILDER MAKONA AND WADZANAI MHOMBERA 


 

1400 – The lunchtime break marks the end of our live updates here at the ZITF 2018 International Business Conference official opening ceremony. Thank you for staying with us! 

1115 – It’s now for presentations on different topics by the various captains of industry gathered here for the 12th edition of the Zimbabwe International Business Conference.

1022 – Co-chair of the NECF Steering Committee, Mr S Malaba takes to the podium to moderate discussions between the guest of honour, Dr Chiwenga and the captains of industry. 

1021 – He concludes his speech.

“I wish you positive interactions. Siyabonga, Tatenda , Thank you !!!”

1020 – Vice President Chiwenga declares the 12th edition of the Zimbabwe International Business Conference officially opened. 

1019 – Dr Chiwenga reiterated that indeed ‘Zimbabwe is open for business’ and has infinite opportunities for serious investors and the government is putting in measures to facilitate the ease of doing business.

1018 – He says it remains incumbent upon Zimbabweans to augment the re-engagement efforts by building trust and confidence in the institutions. A holistic approach, increasing productivity and capacity utilisation will enhance the country’s export potential. 

“The call is for us to restore our dignity, prioritising our beloved country before self. In this regard, we need to discuss objectively and address head-on the underlying causes of rampant corruption in the economy,” he says.

1017 – Dr Chiwenga has also implored Zimbabweans to rise to the occasion and rebuild the nation.

Scenes at the Zimbabwe International Business Conference

1016 – He says creating linkages between the agriculture and manufacturing sector will accelerate industrial development. 

“So VaMoyo (United Refineries CEO ) be rest assured that we will remain consistent in our policies, and yours is not to create one SEZ but a number of SEZs,” he says.

1015 – He says government is also mobilising resources for upgrading infrastructure in the ICT, health and educational sectors. In order to sustain our development agenda, government is committed to maintain credible and consistent policies.

1014 – Dr Chiwenga says the government has already sourced resources for construction of Kunzvi dam and rehabilitation of the rail transport through the facility of the $400 million Diaspora Infrastructure Facility Group and Transet. Government has since acquired wagons and locomotives for the NRZ.

1013 – He also says the rebuilding and refurbishment of infrastructure is critical for development as it will reduce the costs on businesses.

“Already we are capacitating the one-stop-shop investment centre in order to reduce bureaucratic red tape that was delaying the approval of investment proposals. Furthermore, government is intensifying the ease of doing business reforms,” noted VP Chiwenga. 

1012 – The government is currently seized with harmonising investment laws and regulations to attract domestic and foreign investment.

1011 – Dr Chiwenga has challenged the business community to take advantage of the mega deals being signed by the government, e.g, the Continental free Trade Area, to venture into untapped business opportunities. 

 

Vice President Dr Constantino Chiwenga addressing delegates

 

“The essence is to invest in efficient manufacturing processes that will give us competitive edge on the global market in terms of product pricing and quality. Once we are competitive, the growth possibility of our manufacturing sector are immense,” he says. 

1009 – Ladies and gentleman, the success of the re-industrialisation requires that the country’s industries to be competitive both in the region and international markets, noted the Vice President.

1008 – He says the government has facilitated a number of lines of credit to assist the manufacturing industry, adding that the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe has also engaged the Bankers Association of Zimbabwe to reduce interest on loans for productive purposes.

“It is important to recapitalise our industries through collaborative efforts between the government and the private sector,” he says.

1007 – Turning to the re-industrialisation agenda, Dr Chiwenga says the government is prioritising the resuscitation of all ailing and opening of new industries in Bulawayo and across the country.

1006 – He says many have taken heed of this call and the country has witnessed a number of investors interested in investing in the various sectors of the economy.

“In the same vein, His excellency had been on a diplomatic offensive to regional countries that include South Africa, Zambia, Mozambique and Namibia and the DRC where he paid courtesy calls on those countries’ Heads of States. He also paid a state visit to Zimbabwe and his message throughout has been ‘Zimbabwe is open for business’.

1005 – The Vice President added that on the sidelines of the WEF the President had the privilege to discuss with the IMF.

1004 – He says the President Cde Emmerson Mnangagwa has an excellent occasion to market Zimbabwe as a country which is open for business during his participation at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

“The most important thing to note in this regard is the re-engagement efforts undertaken so far. We need to resuscitate friendship with all nations and we have since expressed our administration’s desire to join the Commonwealth. I am confident this will materialise in due course,” he says.

1003 – The Vice President heralds the efforts being made by the current dispensation to facilitate investment and create a conducive operating environment for business in the country.

1002 – The Vice President says Zimbabwe cherishes industrial development that is sustainable and inclusive with firms which are both competitive and collaborative towards achieving middle income status by 2030.

1000 – Dr Chiwenga is now giving his keynote address.

0956- He invites the guest of honour Vice President Dr Constantino Chiwenga to address the gathering.

0955 – Dr Bimha reiterates that Zimbabwe is open for business.

0951 – The programme moderator Dr Ray Ndhlukula who is the Deputy Chief Secretary to the President And Cabinet takes to the podium and invites the Minister of Industry, Commerce and Enterprise Development Dr Mike Bimha to give his remarks.

0950- These zones will eventually attract investment from multinational corporations noted Mr Moyo as he concludes his presentation.

0947 – He says the SEZs will encouraged foreign investment and simultaneously accelerated industrialisation not only in Zimbabwe but in this region as a whole.

0945- For industrial development to be achieved, Mr Moyo says the government needs to promote the macroeconomic and political stability for the country to support the establishment of industries. 

0941 – Mr Moyo added that in some countries the zones have been criticised for being little more than labour camps, with workers denied fundamental labour rights.

“The benefits a company gains by being in a special economic zone may mean that it can produce and trade goods at a lower price, aimed at being globally competitive,” he says.

0940 – The United Refineries CEO says the creation of special economic zones by the country was motivated by the desire to attract foreign direct investment (FDI).

0939 – He says SEZs are located within a country’s national borders, and their aims include increased trade, increased investment, job creation and effective administration.

United Refineries CEO Mr Busisa Moyo currently making a presentation on SEZ.

0937 – Mr Moyo defines a special economic zone (SEZ) as an area in which business and trade laws are different from the rest of the country.

0936 – He says the special economic zones are 119 in Africa and started way back in the 1950s in industrial countries adding that Zimbabwe is joining countries like Nigeria in the special economic zones.

0932 – Chief Executive Officer, United Refineries Mr Busisa Moyo takes to the podium to give a presentation on the special economic zones as a springboard for industrial development in Zimbabwe.

Part of the gathering at the official opening ceremony of the 59th edition of the ZITF.

0930 – She says the Zimbabwe is open for business mantra has opened doors for economic turnaround of the country as witnessed by many investors showing interest in doing business here in Zimbabwe.

0928 – Minister Masuku says this year’s ZITF theme, “Sustainable Industrial Development, Inclusive, Competitive, Collaborative” resonates well with the Bulawayo Metropolitan Province as it is the industrial hub for the Zimbabwe.

0927 – She says sustainable development is key for the country’s growth.

0916 – Minister of State for Provincial Affairs Bulawayo Metropolitan Province, Honourable Angeline Masuku is now giving her welcoming remarks.

0907 – She says this year’s exhibition has attracted more exhibitors following President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s open business mantra.

0905 – The Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF) Company Chairman, Ms Ruth B. Ncube takes to the podium to give the opening remarks.