Malawi president to open ZITF


HARARE – Malawi President Joyce Banda will officially open this year’s Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF) in Bulawayo later this month, a Cabinet minister has confirmed.

Industry and Commerce minister Welshman Ncube said Malawi’s first woman president would visit Zimbabwe at the invitation of President Robert Mugabe.

“This year’s Trade Fair is being officially opened by Joyce Banda, the Malawian president,” Ncube said.

Zimbabwe’s premier trade showcase runs from April 23 to 27, 2013. The trip would be Banda’s first official visit to Zimbabwe since taking over power after the death last year, of Bingu wa Mutharika, who was a close ally to Mugabe. Since assuming power Banda has actively sought closer ties with the West to help mend her country’s struggling economy.

In contrast, Mugabe accuses the West of working to force him out of power and relations remain icy since the European Union and the United States imposed sanctions, accusing his government of electoral fraud and human rights abuses.

But Ncube said Mugabe would be happy to receive Banda despite their different approaches to dealing with the West.

“As a country, we are in good books with all our neighbours and all member countries in SADC,” he said. — New Zimbabwe

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