Zim-China cooperation to boost trade, investment
Kudzanai Sharara in Beijing, China
The win-win cooperation between Zimbabwe and China will pave the way for the socio-economic development of the two countries, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade Ambassador Frederick Shava said during the ongoing Zimbabwe-China Business Forum underway in Beijing China.
Giving his remarks during the official opening, Minister Shava said the business fForum “undoubtedly offers a platform to discuss potential business collaborations with our Chinese counterparts across a range of areas”.
“I, therefore, challenge the Zimbabwe and China private sector players to seize this opportunity to craft lasting partnerships, “said Minister Shava.
He said the overwhelming presence of the Chinese private sector was “a demonstration of their keen interest to engage with their Zimbabwean counterparts, with a view to forging investment partnerships in various sectors”.
The business forum, according to Minister Shava, is in line with President Mnangagwa’s commitment to implementing the National Development Strategy (NDS1) policy, which provides for the need to grow exports through developing export markets, product diversification and creating an enabling environment for doing business in Zimbabwe.
“Indeed, Zimbabwe is Open for Business, as evidenced by the Government’s policy thrust to open and facilitate trade and investment-led economic development,” said Minister Shava.
Earlier on, in his opening remarks, Zimbabwe’s Ambassador to China His Excellency Ambassador Lt General (Rtd) Dr Martin Chedondo thanked ZimTrade for taking the initiative to organise the business forum which provided network and linkage opportunities for businesses from both countries. Ambassador Chedondo also thanked the business community for participating at the very successful Business Forum.
“China is the place to do business, hence my call to Zimbabwe entrepreneurs is that let’s take the beeline to China and reap the benefits from our trade relations,” said Ambassador Chedondo.
Ministry of Mines and Mineral Development Deputy Minister Dr Polite Kambamura also made a presentation and highlighted opportunities in the mining sector.
Dr Kambamura said the main thrust is on beneficiation along the mining value chain to convert the country’s mineral resources into a catalyst for economic growth.
The Deputy Minister said the country is still under-explored and there is huge potential for new discoveries.
“Most mines are using antiquated machinery and require retooling to increase efficiency and productivity,” he said.
The business forum saw several presentation from Government’s agencies such as ZimTrade, Zimbabwe Investment Development Agency, Zimbabwe Tourism Authority, and the Agriculture Marketing Authority. In his presentation ZimTrade chief executive officer Allan Majuru, whose organisation organised the business forum, highlighted that Zimbabwe is land linked hence provides huge opportunities for trade and investment between the two countries and beyond.
“We are here so that we can partner to export value added goods and services in terms of tobacco, cigarettes, jewellery, in a partnership with the European Union, so when you do business with Zimbabwe you are not only focusing on the population of Zimbabwe, but we also provide a gateway for you to do business with all those people, in those regional blocks,” said Mr Majuru.
Later on, in an interview, Mr Majuru said what is key about the Business Forum is that it is not only focusing on trade but investment and tourism.
“And from the feedback that we have got, having finalised the citrus protocol, we are now looking at how best we can also export blueberries, chillies on the same protocol so that the same goods can also come to China,” said Majuru.
He said prices for some products were expensive which provides Zimbabwean companies with export opportunities to China.
China is Zimbabwe’s third largest trading partner and according to the Chinese Embassy trade between Zimbabwe and China surged 29,2 percent year-on-year to a record high of US$2,43 billion in 2022. Through its Twitter handle back in January, the Chinese Embassy said Zimbabwe exported US$1,3 billion worth of goods to China and imported US$1,13 billion worth of goods from China.
Exports to China are however dominated by primary products mainly tobacco leaf, processed tobacco, ferroalloys and chromium ore.