Zimbabwe: Zimtrade Targets Southern Africa

ZIMTRADE has increased its engagements with regional markets to explore opportunities for local products and services, following the commencement of trade under the African Continental Free Trade Area in January this year.

The country's trade promotion organisation is currently conducting a market survey in Tanzania and a pre-mission assessment in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

The two in-market activities are expected to provide market intelligence that will help Zimbabwean companies get market insights.

The market survey in Tanzania will be focusing on processed foods, building and construction, horticulture, agricultural inputs and implements sectors.

ZimTrade said on Friday it will be engaging buyers from leading retailers in Tanzania to unlock market opportunities in the East African country.

Meetings with business-member organisations have also been lined up.

"There are vast opportunities for local exporters in Tanzania, especially small businesses riding on regional and continental trade agreements. Given the proximity to Tanzania, small businesses should consider the country as a springboard to international markets," said ZimTrade operations director Similo Nkala.

"Both Zimbabwe and Tanzania are signatories to the Southern Africa Development Community Trade Protocol, which stimulates and encourages trade by giving one another preferential treatment in the reduction or elimination of customs duties," he said.

Tanzania's import bill has been growing over the past few years, creating a potential market for Zimbabwean products.

According to the Trade Map, Tanzania imported products and services worth around US$11,57 billion in 2019, up from US$7,69 billion in 2016.

Top imported products included electrical machinery, pharmaceutical products, animal or vegetable fat, cereals and tobacco.

"The DRC market offers lucrative opportunities for Zimbabwean companies across all sectors such as mining, agriculture and services. The country is predominantly rich in mineral resources and relies on imports of goods and services for its huge population," ZimTrade said.

The DRC produces more than 3% of the world's copper and half its cobalt.

This presents an opportunity for Zimbabwean exporters of mining consumables, engineering, and safety solutions in key mining regions like Katanga.

ZimTrade said there was appetite for Zimbabwe-produced mining supplies like protective clothing.

The DRC government had been moving towards modernising the country's agricultural sector, creating opportunities for Zimbabwean companies to supply appropriate technologies.

Zimtrade said required products that local businesses could supply included hand-held farming equipment, tractors, cultivators, and planters.

It said there had been growing interest in animal husbandry in the DRC, which is creating opportunities for poultry farmers.

Already some local companies have been receiving inquiries for hatching eggs, an area that smallholder farmers could capitalise on, said ZimTrade.

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