Zimbabwe and the United Arab Emirates will continue to expand bilateral agreements that have seen trade growing by over 300 percent in less than five years, a senior official has said.
In line with the Second Republic's export-led growth strategy, Zimbabwe and the UAE signed a bilateral agreement on promotion and protection of investments, and a tax treaty in 2018.
As a result of the two agreements and an open-for-business foreign policy stance, bilateral trade with the UAE witnessed strong growth between 2019 and 2023, amid opportunities for Zimbabwe to expand to the entire gulf region market. UAE imports from Zimbabwe reached US$ 2.3 billion in 2021 compared to US$ 1.5 billion in 2020 and US$904 million in 2019.
In 2023, trade between the two countries breached the US$3 billion mark with the scales in favour of Zimbabwe at US$2,7 billion.
In an interview at the Zimbabwean consulate in Dubai yesterday, Harare's representative in Abu Dhabi, Ambassador Lovemore Mazemo said about 28 UAE companies are operating in Zimbabwe with interests in mining, agriculture and renewable energy.
Zimbabwe's main exports to UAE are precious stones and pearls, tobacco, edible fruits, macadamia nuts, bananas, avocados, citrus fruits and various berries.
"Bilateral relations between our two countries continue to grow and with regards to trade, figures were at US$2 billion at the end of 2022 and by the end of 2023 trade volumes between the two countries had minimally surpassed US$3 billion which is a tremendous growth when looking at the short period this happened.
"I think it is because we continue to discover one another. At government level a lot has happened to make the business-to-business environment good. We have signed the Bilateral Promotion and Protection of Investments Agreement and we also signed an agreement for the avoidance of double taxation, and these two are working not only in the area of trade but also in the area of investment. As we speak, we have about 28 UAE registered companies that are already operating in Zimbabwe.
"Areas of interest are mining, agriculture, renewable energy and tourism. The portfolio is expanding and we a expect that a lot more will continue happening," Ambassador Mazemo said.
"At government-to-government level there are also efforts to expand the agreements that we have signed."
To support Zimbabwe's business in the UAE, the Zimbabwean Business Council was established with the blessing of the Dubai Chamber of Commerce.
As business relations thaw, the Zimbabwean Embassy in Abu Dhabi recently announced the opening of the Consulate in Dubai.
The consulate will also help bring services closer to the growing number of Zimbabweans working in the UAE.
Ambassador Mazemo revealed that there are as many as 6 000 Zimbabwean expatriates, amid an increasing demand for skills.
"There is a very huge interest in Zimbabwean skills in virtually every area. I think we have between five and six thousand already on this market. We have a lot of Zimbabweans in the aviation sector, we have people working on cruise ships, as well as the financial, banking, insurance, medical and education sectors," Ambassador Mazemo said.
"The sectors are so many and it's good that our diasporans have proved to be great ambassadors for our country and because of that we believe that even investors originating from this market are confident that when they come to Zimbabwe their funds will be in good hands."