ZIMBABWE should expedite the signing of a bilateral trade agreement with Angola to open up markets for local products, the trade promotion body has said.
Zim Trade Director of Operations Rongai Chizema challenged Angola and Zimbabwe governments to speed up the signing of the bilateral trade agreements and enhance the opening of new business opportunities.
"There is a need for the governments of Angola and Zimbabwe to speed up signing the bilateral agreements so that companies can protect their businesses," said Chizema in Bulawayo last week during a breakfast meeting on the findings of a market research done on the availability of trade and investment opportunities in Angola.
He said the finalisation of the bilateral trade agreement between the two governments would open opportunities for local entities to trade in the emerging African economy.
Zimbabwe has to date signed about five preferential bilateral trade agreements in the region with Malawi, South Africa, Botswana, Namibia and Mozambique.
The bilateral trade agreements are aimed at stimulating and encouraging trade between the country and other co-operating partners through the elimination of tariffs and other barriers to trade.
Chizema said local companies should create linkages and partnerships with Angolan businesses and reduce business transaction costs and barriers to entry.
Managing director for Africa Corporate Advisors, Mike Nyamazana said Angola presented huge opportunities in almost all the sectors as it imports about 90% of its manufactured goods.
He said most products needed in Angola were refined petroleum, wheat flour, beverages, food, medicines, building materials, machinery, furniture and electrical goods.
He said the opportunities in Angola were in the construction and construction materials, manufacturing, fresh produce, meat and processed foods.
"A huge long-term opportunity exists for maize-meal. Currently Angola is importing from Namibia. As an example, a 30-tonne truck at Shoprite supermarket does not last a week when received. This demand for maize-meal can be an opportunity to revive maize production in Zimbabwe by providing for the much-needed effective demand," said Nyamazana.
Currently, local companies are failing to venture into the export business due to a number of challenges resulting in a negative trade balance.
According to a Zim Trade's Export Manufacturing Capacity Survey for 2013, over 70% of local companies that have been exporting in the past 10 years have ceased due to numerous challenges.