Zimbabwean companies are set to increase exports to Zambia following increased engagements with buyers in the country, during the ongoing Zambia Agricultural and Commercial Show.
National trade development and promotion organisation, ZimTrade, has facilitated 30 companies that are exhibiting at Zambia’s largest trade exhibition event, among them seven youth-owned enterprises.
This year marks the return of Zimbabwean companies to the Zambia Agricultural and Commercial Show (ZACS) since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2019.
The theme for ZACS’s 94th edition is, “Innovation Through Technology” and this is well represented by the innovative youth-owned businesses exhibiting at the fair.
ZimTrade Chief Executive Officer, Allan Majuru, said the comments received by participating companies from potential buyers shows a positive outlook for Zimbabwean products in Zambia.
“There is potential for diversified products in the Zambian market riding on the existing positive reputation of Zimbabwe’s quality products.
“Already most buyers in the market are familiar with the high quality of products from Zimbabwe and have indicated that they prefer our products compared to competition,” he said.
Mr. Majuru further said the positive feedback on Zimbabwe will be used to springboard more local products into the neighbouring country.
“Going forward we want to ride on these performing products to introduce more diversified products, which in turn will boost our exports into the country,” said Mr. Majuru.
As part of ZimTrade’s programme to inculcate export culture in previously marginalised groups, seven youth-led businesses are also participating at ZACS for the first time.
It is our first time exploring the Zambian market and we notice that the market has potential based on the sales we have made at the trade fair” says Lianne Shonhiwa the founder of Manetain organics, a company that develops organic hair products.
“Our aim is to align ourselves with distributors who can provide a consist supply of our products to the market,” she said.
Afrostain Farmtech, a smart farming solutions enterprise is another youth-led enterprises taking part at the exhibition.
“We have managed to secure meetings with various agricultural businesses, local government as well as some international NGOs operating in Zambia, who are interested in using our drone technology, remote sensing among other Geographic information systems solutions” says Wenceslous Nyamupfukudza the Executive Director for Afrostain Farmtech.
Zimbabwean manufacturers and distributors have a unique opportunity to grow exports to Zambia, anchored primarily on advantages related to logistics operations and an advanced manufacturing sector.
A recent market survey conducted by ZimTrade in 2019 revealed that Zambia offers high potential for Zimbabwean products and services in, for example, processed foods, agriculture, and mining sectors.
The survey revealed that some local companies are already servicing the market, with processed foods that are known to have better quality compared to competition.
Taking advantage of these products already in the Zambian market, there is a huge potential for Zimbabwe to supply products and services to the Zambian market at low tariff rates, riding on trade agreements.
Further to this, there is an increasing demand in Zambia mining provinces for fast moving consumer goods that include processed foods and beverages, personal care products and toiletries.
Zambia is predominantly a copper mining country, with six percent of the world’s reserves and the second largest copper producer in Africa after the DRC. Mining is a growing sector in Zambia, with several projects being commissioned annually, especially in the Copperbelt Province.
This presents opportunities for local companies to supply personal protective equipment, mining equipment, and mining consumables.
Other sectors with potential include the services sector with potential in transport, plant maintenance, engineering, instrumentation, environmental management and artisanal services like quantity surveying.
There are also opportunities to offer services to mines.
Typical services that mines seek include outsourced labour, such as management advisory, legal, marketing, banking and finance, security and cleaning services.
Further to this, there is potential for Zimbabwe to supply products and services to the Zambian market at low tariff rates, riding on the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) and Southern African Development Community (SADC) trade agreements that the two countries are signatories to.
For example, COMESA implemented Simplified Trade Regime (STR) to help small trader to benefit from the preferential rates enjoyed by commercial traders when importing or exporting goods within the COMESA trading bloc. Zimbabwe has an agreement on the STR with Zambia and Malawi.
The STR is a Customs Clearance procedure used by small scale cross border traders importing or exporting goods from one COMESA Member State to the other. STR is used when the small-scale cross border trader is exporting goods valued at US$1000.00 or less per consignment. However, the goods should be listed on the COMESA STR Common List.