Zimbabwean companies have been urged to unlock the vast export opportunities in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), as the Second Republic bids to grow its bilateral trade relations with other African countries.
Speaking during the ZimTrade organised outward seller mission underway in Kinshasa, Foreign Affairs and International Trade Deputy Minister Dr David Musabayana said businesses in Zimbabwe should utilise opportunities presented in regional markets to secure strong footprints on the continent.
The call by the deputy minister follows spirited re-engagement efforts being spearheaded by President Mnangagwa's Government in line with the Zimbabwe is Open for Business mantra and market diversification drive outlined in the country's National Export Strategy.
Dr Musabayana, who is leading the business delegation from Zimbabwe, comprising Government officials, ZimTrade and more than 20 companies, urged the businesses in Zimbabwe and DRC to leverage on existing advantages to exploit trade opportunities between the two countries.
"It is also important to note that Zimbabwe and DRC are part of the North-South Corridor, which has vast economic opportunities.
"Furthermore, the DRC is also part of the Beira Corridor which provides access to the port of Beira and passes through Zimbabwe.
"There is need for continuous strengthening of business cooperation between the two countries within the framework of the SADC, COMESA and the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA)," said Dr Musabayana.
DRC's Minister of External Trade, Mr Jean Lucien Busa said the outward seller mission would go a long way in strengthening the strong ties that exist between the two countries.
"Your visit (Zimbabwe delegation) to Kinshasa, goes beyond the fact that it is part of the perspective of strengthening economic and trade relations between our two countries.
"In reality, it reflects the good historic ties of cooperation between Zimbabwe and DRC," he said.
He also urged companies in the two countries to actively engage in trade and investment as they consolidate relations.
"It is today in the economic field, mainly that of investment and trade, that the cooperation between our two countries intends to be most active in order to further consolidate our ties," said Mr Busa.
Speaking during the same event, the Zimbawe's Ambassador to the DRC Johannes Tomana encouraged companies to take advantage of sound political relations and multilateral trade relations that Zimbabwe and DRC are signatory to.
"I urge you (businesses) to capitalise on the cordial political relations between the two countries to increase trade between our peoples.
"It is also my desire to see Zimbabwe and DRC, which are members of SADC, maximizing trade on products which enjoy preferential treatment under the SADC Trade Protocol," said Ambassador Tomana.
The outward seller mission to Kinshasa is a follow-up trade promotion activity to the one held in Lubumbashi, DRC, earlier this year, where participating companies recorded over US$13 million orders during the event.
Participating companies are drawn from several sectors including, processed foods; horticulture; building and construction materials; clothing and safety wear; industrial and mining supplies, and services.
Over the years, ZimTrade has organized several outward seller missions to create seamless business synergies between Zimbabwean companies and buyers from the region and beyond. From these events, participating companies are provided with an opportunity to increase their brand awareness, generate new leads, form new partnerships, and showcase products, services and technologies.
As a follow-up to the ongoing outward seller mission to Kinshasa, ZimTrade is organising a Zimbabwe-DRC Business Forum, which will be held on the sidelines of the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair.
Six buyers will be part of the business delegation from DRC, which will be led by Governor of Lubumbashi, Acques Kyabula Katwe.