EXPORTS between Zambia and Angola have declined by 178 per cent from $US 3,037,000 in 2010 to $2,496,000 in 2011, the Zambia Development Agency (ZDA) has said.
Some of the reasons for the decline was due to a delay by the two countries to sign a bilateral agreement.
However, ZDA director of export promotion and market development Glyne Michelo said the trade balance between Zambia and Angola had been positive in favour of Zambia from $496,000 in 2007 to $2,472,000 in 2011.
Mr Michelo said the trend in exports between the two countries had been generally fluctuating with an increase of 249 per cent from $566,000 in 2007 to $1,978,000in 2009.
Speaking in Angola, Mr Michelo said in order to improve the trade balances between the two countries; there was need for speedy conclusion and signing of the bilateral trade agreement between Zambia and Angola.
Mr Michelo said the bilateral trade agreement would provide a framework of closer business cooperation between the two countries.
He said in a statement issued in Lusaka yesterday that there was an urgent need to have a bilateral trade agreement between the two countries because Angola was currently enjoying derogation in as far as implementation of the SADC trade protocol was concerned.
The derogation allows Angolan Customs to charge non SADC tariffs until the derogation was done away with.
He also emphasised on the need to improve transport and telecommunication infrastructure between the two countries so as to ease trade flows.
The Angolan government was already working on the rail and road infrastructure leading to the border with Zambia and it is important that work on the road and rail infrastructure on the Zambian side leading to the Angola border was also worked on.
Work on the Shangombo-Rivungu canal and the rehabilitation of the road network between the two countries and the construction of the rail line to directly link the two countries would help unlock the huge business potential between the two countries.
The Angola Chamber of Commerce and Industry emphasised on the need to have more business interactions between the private sector of the two countries as this was important in building lasting and beneficial business relations between the two peoples.
There are fifteen Zambian companies taking part in the trade mission and solo exhibition and they began networking with their Angolan counterparts after the official opening of the event.
A number of Zambian companies are already in serious discussions with their Angolan counterparts to supply various products ranging from foodstuffs, agricultural equipment, herbal medicines, pharmaceutical products, water related equipment etc.
The other Zambian companies are looking for construction related projects in Angola.
So far, serious enquiries have been received for the supply of hammer mills, maize hullers, water pumps, office furniture, electrical hardware, hospital equipment and protective clothing.
Others include natural herbal products such as blood pressure and diabetes medicines, medical equipment and drugs.
Foodstuffs such as Kapenta, rice, garlic, potatoes groundnuts, beans, dry fish and onions.
The service industry has also received a number of enquires in cross advertising and joint partnership in Angola.
The Zambia trade mission and solo exhibition closed yesterday.