HARARE — Zimbabwean companies have been urged to develop their own niche markets on the international market and to desist from competing with cheap Chinese products.
Speaking at the launch of a three million euro facility to empower small-and-medium enterprises (SMEs) to trade with the European Union, EU ambassador to Zimbabwe, Aldo Dell’Ariccia urged Zimbabwe to revive local companies and produce special products.
“Don’t compete with the Chinese for cheap t-shirts. One of your t-shirts will cost 10 of theirs. Go for excellence,” he said.
The three million euro support is aimed at facilitating SMEs access to market information and to remove trade barriers between EU and Zimbabwe.
“Make sure you know exactly the conditions to access the markets and you can be competitive on these markets,” he said.
Dell’Ariccia said the EU was convinced that enhancing trade and supporting private sector development, in particular the SMEs, were essential elements for poverty alleviation, job creation and overall development of the country.
Zimbabwe signed an Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with the EU in 2012 and recently signed an interim EPA along with Madagascar, Mauritius and Seychelles.
The agreement allows goods from these countries to enter the European market duty and quota free. EU has in the past supported various activities in the country including the industry ministry in establishing a national trade policy. It also sponsored the textile industry to host the clothing indaba in 2012 and 2013 as well as the “Made in Zimbabwe” campaign aimed at promoting local products.
EU has also supported ZimTrade in hosting its annual exporters conference and the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries to launch its anti-bribery, anti-corruption campaign.
Industry and commerce minister, Mike Bimha said the EU project, which would be implemented over two and a half years, complimented government’s five-year economic blue print, Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-economic Transformation (Zim Asset).
“Capacitating of such important institutions as ZimTrade, Standards Association of Zimbabwe, Business Council of Zimbabwe, SMEs and women organisations is critical to the successful implementation of both Zim Asset and the interim EPA,” he said.
He said another project valued at ₧5,2 million was in the pipeline of which ₧1 million would be used to support the implementation of the EPA while 4.2 million euro would be used to support regional integration and development.
— The Source