‘Zim firms must exploit Zambian opportunities’
Local firms, including small to medium enterprises (SMEs), must take advantage of the existing cordial bilateral relations between Zimbabwe and Zambia to maximise on trade, Zimbabwe’s ambassador to Zambia, Charity Charamba has said.
Speaking in an interview after more than 30 Zimbabwean firms took part at the 94th Zambia Agriculture and Commercial Show (ZACS), which ended on Monday, Ambassador Charamba said local firms must take advantage of the proximity between the two countries as well as the fact that both countries are members of SADC and COMESA.
Trade development and promotion body, ZimTrade, facilitated the participation of the local firms and because of the high level of organisation and the quality of products on display, the Zimbabwe Pavillion was awarded the Best Recognition to International Exhibit.
Winning the award, according to Ambassador Charamba, was “a thumbs up for Zimtrade and the country at large”.
“We are excited but at the same time, it actually underscores that our products are highly competitive,” said Ambassador Charamba.
Some of the local products on display included those from large firms such as Dairibord, Tanganda, Cairns, Zimplow, Agricura, Windmill, AE Electricals, and Turnall as well as those from small to medium enterprises such as Good Hope Leather Products, Das Foods, Millenium Footwear, Bernard Remegious, and Triple Tee Footwear.
Ambassador Charamba said the participation of local firms shows that as a country “we have identified markets here.”
She said some of the visitors and buyers that came to the Zimbabwe Pavilion “had actually indicated that they want our companies to set up base in Zambia”.
Jadesave Investments, led by Choice Rusike, which manufactures construction chemicals, is one such company seriously considering setting up a base in Zambia.
Mrs Rusike told this publication that her company will soon be conducting due diligence with the aim of setting up a base in Zambia.
“We have some of our companies that have already set up here and they are trading from here,” said Ambassador Charamba.
Glytime Foods Pvt Limited chief executive officer Lesly Marange told this publication that his firm’s products are now on the shelves of Pick n Pay South Africa.
His company was also exhibiting at the ZACS and exploring business opportunities to expand into other outlets.
Ambassador Charamba said the award won by Zimbabwe showed that Zimtrade is not just talking but walking the talk in line with the Foreign Affairs and International Trade Ministry’s “focus on economic diplomacy”.
She said the participation of local firms at ZACS “strengthened our trade relations and it also promotes trade between our two countries”.
Zambian President Hakainde Hichilema toured the Zimbabwe Pavillion on Sunday and showed his familiarity with some Zimbabwean products on display.
He was also at hand to hand over the award won by ZimTrade (Zimbabwe Pavillion) to Ambassador Charamba and Zimtrade chief executive officer Allan Majuru.
Ambassador Charamba said the tour of the Zimbabwe Pavilion by President Hichilema “is a way of also showing cementation of the already existing relations between Zimbabwe and Zambia”.
She said both Zimbabwe and Zambia are under the Southern African Development Community (SADC), Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) and the African Union and “must take advantage of African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA)”.
She said she was particularly impressed by youth and women-led businesses that were participating at ZACS.
“This is a good lesson to other youth that they can also come up with such projects.”
One of the youths participating at ZACS was Lienne Shonhiwa, founder of ManeTain Organics which is into the production of natural hair products.
She said ZACS had been such an “amazing experience”.
“There are so many opportunities in Zambia and my experience here is that small businesses can tap into that market.
“These are some of the opportunities that we have to definitely grab by the horns as Zimbabweans, as youth, and as small businesses,” Ms Shonhiwa said.