As promised, we are now on how to export goods from Zimbabwe as a company. If you have not checked out the article on how to import goods into Zimbabwe, kindly do so. I often encourage entrepreneurs and startups to think of value addition and export markets. This is paramount, especially for industries such as agriculture. That is why you must carefully go through this article to grasp what is needed to export goods from Zimbabwe.

Export Readiness

Export readiness entails considering several variables. Do you have adequate managerial and staff resources? Do you have the requisite skilled manpower to handle export marketing, costing procedures and documentation? Do you have sufficient production capacity such as machinery, factory space, warehousing and adequate access to raw materials to meet export orders? Are adequate financial resources to meet export production and marketing including foreign exchange for raw materials, machinery spares, etc. in place? Do you have the ability to produce and adapt products with real export potential using cost-effective methods? Do you wield the ability to provide after-sales service, if required?

These are some of the questions to ask yourself and guide you on what you need to be ready for the export business. You also need to gather comprehensive market intelligence on export markets. Some good sources of relevant market intelligence are ZimTrade, ZIMSTAT, CZI, RBZ, ZIMRA, banks, and more. That information will help you decide which export markets to settle for. Essentially you must pick ones that are near, wherever possible. The best export markets are where products can be sold without costly adaptations; which offer preferential access to Zimbabwean products; without strict exchange control regulations or import restrictions; that is less obvious to competitors; and that do not suffer from political instability.

Important To Note: As an exporter, you are required to register with ZIMRA so that you are allocated your Business Partner Number (B.P.N.). It will need to be quoted on the Bill of Entry that is why it is important. If you are an individual exporter and your export consignment is less than US$1000, you will not be required to complete a Bill of Entry.

Export Procedures And Documentation

You have received an export purchase order and you are getting ready to arrange its transportation. As an exporter, you are expected to prepare a commercial invoice. You will also have to prepare a packing list. It will also be your responsibility to apply for exchange control approval through your bank.

When you are starting there are certain items that your bank might request. That will depend on whether you are a corporate, partnership, or individual. These can be certificates of incorporation, partnership agreements, or personal identification documents, respectively, amongst others. Export licenses or permits, where applicable, will be requested.

You must of course have a shipping agent. They are the ones who will submit the relevant documentation to ZIMRA. I am referring to stuff like copies of CD1 form, certificates of origin (if any), commercial invoices, suppliers invoices, export licenses or permits, and so on. If everything checks out ZIMRA will then issue the Bill of Entry (Form 21), which is the authorisation for the export consignment to leave Zimbabwe.

Export Licenses Or Permits

When making an application for an import license you will have to include the following details:

  • Brief company profile indicating the line of business
  • Product description
  • Tariff code
  • Quantity (tonnes, litres, metres, kg, etc.)
  • The purchase price per unit
  • Selling price per unit
  • The total value of the consignment
  • Country of origin
  • Justification for exporting

You also have to attach the following:

  • Certificate of Incorporation
  • CR14 (showing company Directors)
  • Tax Clearance certificate
  • Copy of Standard Development Fund Levy receipt
  • Proforma invoice

When making the application you address it to the Secretary for the Ministry of Industry Commerce and Enterprise Development. When applying, you do so for different products. Any Ministry of Industry Commerce and Enterprise Development office near you can furnish you with the fees or charges you will have to pay.

Export Pricing And Terms Of Payment

The major factors that determine export pricing are cost (of manufacturing or obtaining the product); target market situation (demand, supply, competition, prevailing prices, brand image); characteristics of the product; government control over prices (in a target market); size/volume of the order; the need for entry into a new market; export incentives provided in Zimbabwe; global competition; final landed cost (consider import duties, demurrages, taxes, delays), and cost of transportation to target market.

Unfortunately, Zimbabwean exporters seldom have the power to influence these factors to save for certain costs which they can control to some degree. When quoting prices, be abreast with the terms of sale; be sure about your calculations, factor in all possible export incentives, keep the profit margin at a minimum level, particularly when entering a market for the first time; specify the duration for which the quotation is valid, and quote only for those orders which will be economically viable to execute.

Terms of payment must be determined by looking at the type of transaction, nature of merchandise, the amount involved, credit standing of the importer, political or economic conditions in the importing country, exporter’s financial position, and acceptable trade practices.

Packaging Of Export Goods

About shipment packaging, there is a delicate balance that must be struck. You essentially want to guarantee the protection of goods against hazards of transportation and handling. In so doing you must also ensure that your packaging does not spike your forwarding expenses. Remember those expenses are directly proportional to the weight or volume of your export cases.

That sums up all you need to know about exporting goods from Zimbabwe. We must see more export activity from Zimbabwe. I will reiterate, wherever possible, that Zimbabwean businesses or startups must seriously explore targeting export markets. For more information, you can get in touch with ZimTrade. It is the national trade development and promotion organization, which is a unique joint venture partnership between the Private Sector and the Government of Zimbabwe.