ZIMTRADE, the country’s export promotion body, says the government should support the beneficiation of Zimbabwe’s abundant raw materials in order to create employment as well as boost export earnings which have registered a marginal increase to the Southern African Development Community (Sadc) in the past four years.
According to Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency (Zimstat), Zimbabwe’s exports to the Sadc surged by 113% from 2009 to 2013. Zimstat established that the country’s exports composition to Sadc were dominated by tobacco, minerals (diamonds, nickel, iron and steel), cotton, sugar, cement, raw hides and skins, and wood products.
Major imports were fertilizers, petroleum oils, nickel matte, maize, animal feeds, motor vehicles and electrical energy.
But in its weekly bulletin, ZimTrade said while exports were increasing, of concern was the fact that the structure of trade was skewed in favour of commodities. It said there was need for promote beneficiation of raw materials in order to promote exports in Sadc and elsewhere.
“While exports are increasing, of concern is the fact that the structure of trade is skewed in favour of commodities. There is, therefore, need to support industry’s endeavours to beneficiate the abundant raw materials that exist in our country and thereby create employment and realise more export earnings,” ZimTrade said.
ZimTrade said Sadc remains Zimbabwe’s biggest trading market, absorbing about 90% of her products in 2013. However, within the region, South Africa has a dominant share of 79%, thus making it Zimbabwe’s biggest export market.
Other important markets within the region include Mozambique and Zambia absorbing 10,3% and 3,3% of total exports, respectively.
The Sadc market is composed of 15 countries namely, Angola, Botswana, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, the Seychelles, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
The region has a population of 277 million with a combined gross domestic product (GDP) of $431 billion and a GDP per capita of
$3 343, 80.
This according to ZimTrade, is a lucrative market whose logistical proximity presents tangible advantages for the country.
To facilitate the penetration of this market, ZimTrade has undertaken market research in neighbouring countries such as Mozambique and Angola.
The Angola market research will be followed by the participation of Zimbabwean companies at FILDA, the flagship Angolan International Trade Fair in July 2014. ZimTrade is planning a trade mission to Tete, Mozambique during the third quarter of 2014.
Further initiatives will broaden the scope of coverage of countries targeted for market exploratory researches in the Sadc region and beyond.