AS part of moves to strengthen trade and investment ties between Zimbabwe and South Africa, an investment and trade initiative (ITI) conference has been slated for October.
The South Africa department of Trade and Industry has started inviting companies to participate in the event scheduled for October 14 to 18.
“The Department of Trade and Industry invites companies to apply to participate in an ITI in Harare and Bulawayo in
Zimbabwe, from October 14 to 18 2013,” part of the notice on the South African government website reads.
According to the notice, the objective of this mission is to increase trade and investment between South Africa and Zimbabwe. The development is an ideal platform for companies looking for investment opportunities and to export value-added products and services.
South Africa remained Zimbabwe’s biggest trading partner in the six months to June, with exports to that country amounting to $1,1 billion against imports of $1,1 and $8 billion.
According to latest figures from Zimstats, the trade deficit between Zimbabwe and South Africa now amounts to $779 million with critics warning that the trend is not sustainable.
A recent study Trade and Transport Facilitation Assessment funded by the World Bank, said Zimbabwe needs to explore new global markets with the view of diversifying from heavy reliance on South Africa.
According to the study, the country needs to explore new markets as its reliance on trading with South Africa makes it vulnerable to market developments in that country.
The report also recommended Zimbabwe to import from countries from the EU which could provide cheaper sources of raw materials under the economic partnership agreement.
The study said a major implication of having South Africa as the country’s single most significant trading partner was that the transport and trade infrastructure between the two countries should be further developed. It added that improving transport infrastructure should be one of the key government priorities.
The report also said the single border post between the two countries was already a major trade constraint because it was constantly congested.
Other countries that registered significant trade with Zimbabwe include the United Arab Emirates and Mozambique, which exported goods worth $116 million to Zimbabwe.
Zimbabwe imported mainly from United Kingdom goods valued at $649 million, China — $213 million and Mozambique — $123 million.
Overall, Zimbabwe imported goods worth $3,9bn and exported goods worth $1,5bn.
The bulk of imports for Zimbabwe were fuel, wheat and rice while exports were mainly tobacco and minerals.
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