Minister urges exporters to seize AfCFTA opportunities
Industry and Commerce Minister Dr Sekai Nzenza has called on businesses to invest towards enhancing exports into the regional markets to take advantage of the opportunities presented by the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
Founded in 2018, the AfCFTA was implemented effective 1 January 2021, becoming the largest free trade area in the world in terms of the number of participating countries since the formation of the World Trade Organization (WTO).
Its general objectives are to create a single market, deepening the economic integration within the continent, establish a liberalised market through multiple rounds of negotiations, aid the movement of capital and people, facilitating investment, enhance competitiveness of member states within Africa and in the global market as well as achieve sustainable and inclusive socioeconomic development, gender equality and structural transformations within member states.
Dr Nzenza said local industry could transform the economy by working together towards exploiting opportunities presented by the US$3,4 trillion market presented by the AfCFTA.
“We can make Zimbabwe great,” she said in a presentation made on her behalf by her ministry’s director of commerce and consumer affairs Constance Zhanje during the second edition of the business dinner and awards ceremony by Global Renaissance Investments (GRI). The awards dinner was held last week in the capital.
“We can do it if we work as a team to explore and exploit opportunities presented by the US$3,4 trillion market presented by the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
“I would also like to encourage some of the businesses here present to continue forging links in the region and investing in a stronger joint future,” she said.
Dr Nzenza also highlighted the need to push towards rapid industrialisation as a means to boosting productivity, job creation and general economic growth, which the country aspires to achieve as espoused in Vision 2030 which sees Zimbabwe transform into an upper middle income economy.
This rapid growth is supported and guided by the National Development Strategy (NDS1)
“All cases of rapid and sustained economic growth in modern economic development have been associated with industrialisation, and particularly growth in manufacturing production,” she said.
Already, the country is beginning to see pockets of growth and development across sectors supported by currency stability, improved foreign currency availability on the official channel following the introduction of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) auction system.
The manufacturing sector has recorded improvements in capacity utilisation, a growth trajectory expected to continue going forward on the back of increased agriculture production, which will increase supply of raw materials for manufacturing.
Dr Nzenza would continue to implement policies that promote industrialisation in addition to the already existing initiatives made for growth such as addressing issues of competitiveness, consumer protection, resource mobilization, fiscal incentives, management of imports and strategies to curb sub-standard imports, investment approvals, easing the doing of business environment, and regional integration.
She said: “Government, through my Ministry, is implementing the Zimbabwe National Industrial Development Policy (ZNIDP) (2019-2023) to ensure sustainable development of industrial and commercial enterprises as well as creation of new ones. It is through such policies that the Government is promoting market access, with a view to sustaining and ensuring rapid industrialisation in our economy.”
The awards ceremony was held under the theme: “Value Addition to Compete in the Africa Free Trade Zone and Promoting Exports In 2022 and Beyond.” Among companies that received awards were Zimplow, Econet, Varun Beverages, ZimGold, Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC), Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (POTRAZ) and the Reserve bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ).