Happiness Zengeni in LUSAKA, Zambia
ZIMBABWEAN companies have not taken advantage of Zambia’s proximity to exploit huge trade opportunities within that country, as it emerged it accounts for only 3 percent of the export market. According to the latest trade data from Zimstats for the six months to June, Zimbabwe’s major export markets include South Africa (78 percent), Mozambique (9 percent), UAE (5 percent); Zambia (3 percent) and Belgium (2 percent), among others.Zimbabwe major import sources include South Africa (39 percent), Singapore (23 percent), China (8 percent), Zambia (4 percent) and India (4 percent).
ZimTrade Operations director Allan Majuru said that currently Zimbabwe’s exports contribute less than 1 percent to Zambia’s total import bill with countries like Kenya and South Africa contributing more.
“There is need for Zimbabwean companies to leverage on the proximity to Zambia to increase our export share contribution. There are a lot of opportunities in Zambia given that we have similar cultural patterns.
“This is the reason why as ZimTrade we are actively promoting exports into the country,” Mr Majuru said.
ZimTrade is currently leading Zimbabwean companies at the ongoing Zambia Agricultural and Commercial Show here.
“Export promotion is one of the key aspects towards enhancing the growth of Zimbabwe’s economy. That is the reason why we are facilitating the participation of local companies in international trade fairs with a particular focus on the region, due to the various opportunities that exists.
“Given the prevailing cash crisis and liquidity challenges, the need to energise the growth of our exports cannot be over emphasized,” he said.
For the first half of the year, exports decreased by 9 percent, $1,1 billion, compared to the same period in 2015.
Although the trade deficit decreased by 17 percent at $1,4 billion, compared to the same period in 2015, this was mainly attributed to the 13 percent, decrease in imports, compared to the same period last year, as a result of import controls put in place by the Government.
The participation at the Zambia show presents an opportunity for Zimbabwean companies to boost trade given both countries are members of the COMESA and SADC preferential trade schemes.
These trade arrangements offer zero duty on the importation of pharmaceutical products which meet the qualifying rules of origin.
Meanwhile, Zambia’s Minister of Commerce, Trade and Industry Margaret Manakatwe, was impressed with the quality of goods during her tour of the Zimbabwe pavilion.
She highlighted that the presence of Zimbabwean companies gives a positive brand image about what the country has to offer.