The Herald (Harare)

3 May 2011

Zimbabwe: Nation, Indonesia to Strengthen Trade, Investment Relations

ZIMBABWE and Indonesia will this month sign a memorandum of understanding on the establishment of a Joint Commission on Trade and Investment.

This was said by Indonesian Ambassador to Zimbabwe Mr Eddy Poerwana at an event organised by business consultancy firm African Renaissance Charter recently.

"Between May 25 and 26 Indonesia will be hosting a high-level summit for the Non-Aligned Movement, to which Zimbabwe is a member.

"It is at this conference that the two countries will sign a MoU for the establishment of a joint commission, which has been in the pipeline for the past eight years pending the completion of some of modalities.

"The establishment of the joint commission will largely facilitate trade and investment, but will also enhance cultural exchanges between the two countries," he said.

The MoU will be signed by the Indonesian foreign minister and his Zimbabwean counterpart, Minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi.

Ambassador Poerwana said trade and investment relations between Zimbabwe and Indonesia has remained constrained due to limited interaction.

"There has been limited dialogue between business people of the two respective countries and there is need to bridge that gap. The signing of this MoU will mean that we can now move in that direction, as both governments will begin to open up avenues for enhanced trade and investment flows between the two countries.

"Zimbabwe offers a lot of export quality products that have a ready market in Indonesia, at the same time as Indonesia we would also like to see an improvement in our balance of trade with your country," he said.

The balance of trade between Zimbabwe and Indonesia is skewed in the former's favour in view of the net importer status of Indonesia, which offers Zimbabwean companies extensive export opportunities. International Monetary Fund statistics show that Indonesia was the third fastest growing economy in the G20 and the institution has forecast further growth in the outlook period, which will be underpinned by consumption spending, the main driver of growth in the country.

Indonesia offers export potential for wide a range of Zimbabwean companies in the following areas, agri-business, food and beverages, consumer products (fashion items and cosmetics), information and communication technologies (mobile telephony), and mining supplies among other areas.

Indonesia is presently one of the major buyers of Zimbabwean tobacco.

The African Renaissance Charter initiative was aimed at highlighting business opportunities in the Indonesian market for Zimbabwean enterprises.

Meanwhile, ARC has indicated that it will be pushing for local business participation at the 26th Trade Expo Indonesia 2011 set for October 19 to 23.

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