Export promotion body, ZimTrade said the economic outlook is showing an improvement in exports in 2017 compared to 2016. According to ZimTrade, Zimbabwe's total exports, which stood at $1,9 billion between January-July 2017, were 43 percent higher compared to $1,3 billion recorded in the similar period last year (January-July 2016).
The country imported goods worth $3,1 billion between January and July 2017 compared to the $2,9 billion recorded in 2016. The trade deficit (gap) as a result was 21,09 percent lower from $1,6 billion in 2016 to $1.2 billion in the current year.
Against this background of improved exports, ZimTrade will be holding its flagship event, the Annual Exporters' Conference and Awards Dinner on 19 October 2017 at the Meikles Hotel in Harare. Over 200 stakeholders from existing and emerging exporters, Government, academia, Business Membership Organisations (BMOs) and Development Cooperation Partners are expected to attend the event.
The theme for the 2017 Exporters' Conference is, "Building Synergised Pillars for Export Competitiveness". The theme, which was developed in consultation with key stakeholders is aimed at addressing issues affecting the ability of enterprises to export competitively.
"The theme takes cognisance of the current operating business environment and seeks to address pertinent issues such as the availability of affordable export finance and the role of policy in enhancing exports," said ZimTrade chairman Lance Jena. Given the highly competitive nature of the global village, the conference seeks to find ways on how enterprises can enhance their export competitiveness.
Mr Jena said industry is in critical need of reforms in the finance sector that will address challenges such as exporters' failure to make foreign payments for purchasing raw materials, difficulties in accessing affordable long-term finance for recapitalisation and working capital.
"The deliberations will focus on the facilitative role played by policy makers in creating a conducive environment for the export business. "This is particularly important given the current thrust towards improving the ease of doing export business through initiatives such as the Rapid Results Approach."
The conference will be capped with the Exporter of the Year Awards Dinner. The objective of the awards is to acknowledge and appreciate efforts by companies who managed to continue exporting despite the difficult operating environment.