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Ndola — ZIMBABWE Trade attaché to Zambia Mrs Stella Nyangweta has urged Zimbabwean companies to “vigorously” start exploring business opportunities on the Copper-belt.

She spoke on the sidelines of the ongoing 47th edition of the Zambia International Trade Fair being held in the country’s third largest city Ndola.

“Improved copper mining activities in the (Copperbelt) province would provide good opportunities for local businesses in engineering, construction and protective clothing,” she said.

“We have been concentrating on Lusaka and now that the Copperbelt is coming up, companies back home must seriously direct their efforts in penetrating this market.

“Opportunities are growing in sectors such as engineering, protective clothing and construction. I am confident that local companies can benefit from that Copperbelt’s growth.”

The ZITF opened here on Tuesday with 13 Zimbabwean companies are participating.

The exhibition, under the theme “Innovation for competitiveness”, has also attracted companies from within the region and Africa.

Although it has started at a slow pace, with some of the exhibitors still setting up their stands, a ZITF spokesperson said the activities are likely to pick up during the course of the day.

“We are happy to have Zimbabwean companies,” said a ZITF spokesperson. “It is a very important improvement on what we had last year.

“Zimbabwe has become one of our major trading partners and this is an appropriate platform to enhance trade relations with Harare and the rest of the region.”

Among Zimbabwean companies participating are Hwange Colliery Company Limited, which already enjoys a strong market for its coal in Zambia.

Some of the companies that came under the ZimTrade banner include PG Industries, Art Corporation, Zesa Enterprises and ZECO Holdings.

ZimTrade operations manager Mr Stanley Tupiri applauded companies participating at the fair, saying it would present them with an opportunity to benefit from rejuvenated business in the Copperbelt.

“Local companies really need to explore the Copperbelt as it provides quite (a lot of) tremendous opportunities. “Even those companies that have not come for the trade fair should start taking this market seriously.”

Zambia has in the last few years overtaken South Africa as Zimbabwe’s biggest trading partner on the continent and it remains a market hugely unexplored by local companies due to lack of information.

But opportunities to expand the trade and economic partnership could be greatly enhanced by the steady economic recovery Zimbabwe has made, which will enable it to produce more for the Zambian export market.

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