ZIMTRADE, the country's trade development and promotion agency, says it will need US$5 million to implement its turnaround strategy in the next three years aimed at restoring the organisation's effectiveness in promoting regional and international trade and exports. Industry has been saddled with problems in the past 10 years that witnessed a drastic decrease in capacity utilisation and production.
In an interview, ZimTrade chief executive Ms Sithembile Pilime said the economic downturn experienced in the country had taken its toll on industry and thus affected the way Zimtrade carried out its duties.
"When industry suffers, we suffer as well because we rely on each other for survival. The main challenge ZimTrade faced was limited resources and this meant we could not fully assist businesses to develop and expand into profitable trade.
"Things started picking up in the last quarter of 2012 when we embarked on this turnaround strategy whose main objective is to initiate capacity building of industry and staff as well as the redevelopment of the trade information centre," she said.
Ms Pilime said the trade information centre would be well equipped to provide online information to players in the industry.
"The strategy will also focus on trade promotion activities with industry and we have already started by identifying and facilitating export market development into the lucrative markets of South Sudan and Tete province," she added.
Last year, ZimTrade conducted a market research on South Sudan and Tete province and discovered many trade and investment opportunities that local companies could tap into.
Ms Pilime noted that ZimTrade was also planning on doing market research on Nyasa province in Mozambique where gas deposits were discovered as well as trade opportunities in South Africa, Zambia, DRC and Tanzania.
Ms Pilime reiterated the need for local companies to grab such opportunities so that they can grow their business and expand the country's export base.