Panashe Chikonyora Business Reporter
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade is taking part in the second session of the Zimbabwe-Botswana Bi-National Commission (BNC) with the focus to strengthen economic ties between the two countries.
Zimbabwe is looking to increase its exports to regional markets, including Botswana, in line with trade promotion body, ZimTrade’s 2020-2023 Strategy.
The second session of BNC will be held in Maun, Botswana from February the 25th to the 28th.
Botswana is one of Zimbabwe’s traditional trading partners.
However, recent trade statistics between the two countries shows that local companies have not been fully servicing the market, despite proximity to that country.
According to ZimTrade, Zimbabwe has potential for local businesses to supply an array of products and services to Botswana that has vast swathes of desert land that do not support plant growth.
“These export opportunities are in sectors such as processed foods and fresh produce sectors, agricultural implements and inputs, building material and mining supplies.
“For example, Zimbabwean companies have potential to export mainly processed foods such as pork products, tinned foods, cereals, milk and milk- based products, cordials, biscuits, and sweets.
“Botswana is also a net importer of fresh produces that local exporters have capacity to supply. According to Trade Map, total imports of fresh produces were US$60,25 million in 2018, up from US$54,81 million in 2017,” said the national trade development and promotion body in a statement.
ZimTrade chief executive officer, Allan Majuru said increasing exports to Botswana can be easily achieved given the simplicity of logistics provided by the SADC Trade Agreement and the Zimbabwe-Botswana bilateral agreement.
“Regional trade is vital in improving our trade balance and Botswana represents an excellent opportunity for Zimbabwe because, not only are our diplomatic relations at an all-time high, but Zimbabwean products, which were previously very popular in the country, can still leverage on the existing legacy of quality and competitiveness,” he said.
However, in line with the objectives of the BNC of fostering closer cooperation between the two countries, ZimTrade and The Botswana Investment and Trade Centre (BITC), will facilitate a Business Forum to be held on February 27, on the sidelines of the BNC.
The business forum is a platform for Zimbabwe and Botswana companies to interact and establish business linkages with the goal of increasing business generated between the two countries.
ZimTrade, the national trade development and promotion body, will be facilitating the participation of local companies from various sectors that include manufacturing, clothing and textile, mining, engineering and services.
Currently, local companies that will participate at the business forum are being invited from all provinces across Zimbabwe.