By Lisa Masuku
DAY three of the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair -ZITF was headlined by the inaugural Africa connect symposium, which brought together African political and economic players as well as investors to discuss solutions to the socio-economic challenges facing the African content.
The first ever Connect Africa symposium at the ZITF saw stakeholders discussing economic opportunities on the continent.
“The African continental free Trade Area (AfCFTA) presents vast challenges and opportunities which require us to put all hands on deck to effectively tackle problems facing the African continent. While trade is widely recognised as the key economic driver of economic growth, sustainable development and poverty reduction should be buttressed by trade policies that are dynamic and inclusive to both opportunities and challenges facing the continent,” said Ambassador Frederick Shava, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade.
The Minister of Industry and Commerce, Dr Sekai Nzenza stressed that solutions for transforming the economic landscape of the African continent lie in harnessing vast natural resources that the continent is endowed with.
“A lot is taken out of Africa. The coming of AfCFTA, it is time for us to rethink investment and trade, the solution lies in transform Africa to a producer, harnessing value from our resources,” said Minister Nzenza.
Delegates from Angola and the United Nations Economic Commission also added their voice, saying central to acceleration of trade between African countries is industrialisation and adapting to the digital world.
“The key factor in acceleration of trade between African countries is industrialisation and adapting to the digital world,” said Hon Amadeu Leitao Nunes.
“In order for Africa to deepen trade relations we also need to focus on building our digital technologies,” noted Mr Batanai Chikwene, the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa representative.
The symposium is set to increase economic synergies between African countries in line with the African continental free Trade Area –AfCFTA.
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