Local businesses are ready to take advantage of the Zimbabwe-Rwanda Trade and Investment Conference slated for the 24th to the 26th of March this year to spread their footprints into the Rwandan market which offers a wide spectrum of opportunities, the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI) has said.
Speaking at the launch of the Zimbabwe-Rwanda Trade and Investment Summit in Harare yesterday, CZI chief executive, Sekai Kuvarika said local industry is ready to tap into Rwanda and use it as a gateway into the East African market ahead of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement that comes into effect this July.
"As private sector we are ready to go into the Rwandan market and we will use this platform set before us by both Governments in terms of creating an enabling environment to do business with each other through policy guidance," Sekai Kuvarika said.
"We have 26 sub-sectors and at the third level of disaggregation we have probably over 90 subsectors in this economy so when we look at the sectors where opportunities exist in Rwanda, we notice that they do mirror how we are currently made up as industry, this means that as industry we are almost ready to go, we are already in these areas of business," she added.
Among major opportunities the local trade and promotion agency, ZimTrade has identified in Rwanda are; timber and furniture, construction, hospitality, ICTs, horticulture produce and in energy sector.
The upcoming, Zim-Rwanda Trade and Investment Conference is hence expected to be a vehicle to promote trade amongst the two economies which reached a paltry US$ 156 000 in 2018.
Rwanda has witnessed remarkable growth during the last decade managing an average of 8 percent GDP growth since 2007 to date.
Amongst its major milestones are the economic reforms which have seen the country rank second most competitive economy in Africa on the ease of doing business index.
"Rwanda and Zimbabwe are both members of COMESA, a free trading bloc with 19 countries which means that there is free movement of people, goods and services from Rwanda to Zimbabwe without any restriction or import duties," Rwanda's Ambassador to Zimbabwe, James Musoni said.
Zimbabwe's businesses have in the past seldom utilized incentives arising from bilateral trade agreements signed by government resulting in the country's export portfolio's underperformance.
However, local businesses bemoan the country's odious and costly export processes as a great hindrance to exporting in other markets.