Harare, April 16, 2014 – The United States will this year participate at the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF) scheduled for Bulawayo (April 22- 26) where it will showcase its partnerships in Zimbabwe in health and education, and conduct a series of cultural activities through a U.S. based country musical group, Blended 328. Ambassador D. Bruce Wharton will also attend ZITF where he will address the Zimbabwe International Business Conference on April 23rd. The theme of the conference is “Technology and Innovation: A key pillar for Zim-ASSET implementation.”
“Through ongoing U.S. programming and partnerships in Zimbabwe, the United States continues to promote Zimbabwe’s economic recovery and highlight opportunities for trade and investment that will benefit American and Zimbabwean businesses alike,” said Karen Kelley, Counselor for Public Affairs. “In line with ZITF theme, “New Ideas to New Heights,” U.S. participation through a booth at ZITF will offer information about innovative health partnerships and service delivery as well as education opportunities in the U.S. that serve to encourage new ideas and joint achievements between our two countries.”
Zimbabwe and the United States have enjoyed positive trade relations over the past 15 years. For example, 2000 – 2012 data show that Zimbabwe had a trade surplus with the United States in eight of the 13 years [2000-2006 and 2008]. The data also reveal that total trade between the United States and Zimbabwe grew by an average annual rate of 16 percent between 2004 and 2008.
The U.S. Embassy, which is the leading provider of bilateral HIV and AIDS assistance in Zimbabwe, will showcase work on health programs supported by the U.S. in Zimbabwe. Most of this support is funded through the United States President’s Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), which has committed $95 million in 2013 and again in 2014 to support the Government of Zimbabwe’s National response to HIV and AIDS by providing high-impact prevention, care, and treatment interventions. PEPFAR also supports health systems strengthening that enhances the sustainability of HIV and AIDS programs. Through a strong partnership with the Ministry of Health and Child Care (MOHCC), U.S. funding has enabled Zimbabwe to access essential technical support and human resource capacity to promote country ownership of the national HIV and AIDS response. The United States remains a leading provider of bilateral HIV and AIDS assistance to Zimbabwe and, through PEPFAR, has provided more than $500 million to Zimbabwe over the last decade.
The booth, located in Hall #4, will also provide information to parents and young students about EducationUSA opportunities for further study in the United States, which boasts over 4200 accredited universities and colleges. There are currently over 1,300 Zimbabwean students pursuing various academic and professional disciplines in the U.S., including 18 Zimbabwean Fulbright scholars pursuing fully-funded PhD study in a wide range of fields such as natural resources management, virology, biotechnology, applied mathematics, media and journalism, and population studies. The Embassy’s United States Student Achievers Program (USAP) is a program that works with highly talented, economically disadvantaged future Zimbabwean leaders, and has seen over 300 talented students study in the U.S. on full scholarships at top universities.
The U.S. Embassy manages four EducationUSA Advising Centers, which are the only sources in Zimbabwe of current, accurate and comprehensive information on U.S. study and financial aid opportunities for students at all levels of higher education. These centers are located at the Bulawayo Public Library; Gweru Memorial Library; Turner Memorial Library in Mutare; and at the U.S. Embassy’s Public Affairs Section on the 7th Floor of the Gold Bridge of Eastgate in Harare.
The U.S. based country funk band Blended 328 will perform a free concert for invited guests on Friday evening (April 25th at 6 pm) at the Bulawayo Academy of Music. The eight member musical outfit was established in Nashville, Tennessee in December 2011 and makes its Africa debut courtesy of the U.S. Department of State’s Education and Cultural Affairs’ Arts Envoy program. The band “has a global vision to initiate positive change in the world by breaking down racial barriers and promoting equality, respect, inclusion and peace through country music,” said the band’s spokesperson and guitarist, Gabe Jordan.