Zim trade deficit widens to $1,8bn

Happiness Zengeni in LUSAKA, Zambia…
Zimbabwe’S trade deficit in the six months to June rose to $1,83 billion from $1,76 billion last year, according to latest data from the Zimbabwe Statistics Agency. Imports amounted to $3,06 billion and exports were at $1,23 billion. Imports remain heavily skewed towards consumption as there has been a drop in the importation of raw materials as industries capacity to pay remains constrained in the absence of cheap money.

The data also show that the country is overly reliant on primary products which do not contribute significantly to export earnings.

Analysts point to the need to come up and implement an industrialisation policy that tiptoes with the Government’s Zim-Asset programme particularly on value addition and beneficiation.

South Africa continues to be the leading trading partner with total trade between the two countries for the month of June being $314,5 million representing 42 percent of total trade of $747,9 mil- lion.

Zimbabwe imported goods and services worth $203,3 million from its southern neighbour while the country exports were $111,2 million.

Total trade with SADC countries including South Africa was $432 million or 57,8 percent.

Zimbabwe’s trade with Zambia is in deficit with the country consuming more of its northern neighbour’s products than it is exporting.

In the six month period, Zimbabwe exported goods worth $46,3 million while imports from Zambia were at $106,71 million resulting in a deficit of $60,4 million.

This is reversal of the trend which used to obtain before the turn of the millennium where the balance was skewed in favour of the country.

Last year, Zimbabwe’s portion of imports to Zambia were at 1,07 percent versus South Africa, which mostly transports its goods through the country, at 43 percent.

Recent findings by ZimTrade show that main opportunities for Zimbabwean companies are in construction industry supplies, manufacturing inputs, agricultural implements/inputs, fast moving goods — for supermarket shelves and mining supplies.

According to the World Bank’s Doing Business Rankings (2012), Zambia has been ranked seventh in Sub-Saharan Africa.

It is fifth among the SADC countries (first – Mauritius, second — Republic of South Africa, third Botswana and fourth Namibia).

Between 2011-2015, Zambia was one of the fastest global growing economies with a growth rate of 7 percent. It is for this reason that ZimTrade led a delegation made of 26 companies to this year’s edition of the Zambian Agriculture Show.

The show which runs from August 29 to 31 is being held under the theme “Innovation Beyond the Golden Jubilee”, in recognition of the fact that Zambia celebrated 50 years of independence in 2014.

Twenty-six Zimbabwean companies drawn from the clothing; processed foods; agricultural implements and inputs; building and construction; wood to furniture; engineering as well as leather and leather products sectors will be showcasing their products at this event.

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