ZimTrade has identified seven regional markets and three new markets outside Africa in its 2020 to 2023 strategy to increase participation in export promotion activities. This will see the trade promotion body push for deals for Zimbabweans businesses in the identified territories. Zambia, Mozambique, Botswana, Malawi, DRC, Namibia and Angola, as well as Dubai, China and Japan are the markets identified by Zimtrade in their strategy according to CEO Allan Majuru.

“They have been determined partly in response to the national and focus on regional integration. The establishment and subsequent ratification of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), as well as the earlier, founded Tripartite Free Trade Area (TFTA) has shown that there is scope for increased intra-Africa trade with a potential of over US$50 billion over a 20-year period. We have identified new markets outside Africa, which include Dubai, China and Japan. Dubai is a strategic market that will offer access to the entire United Arab Emirates, especially for horticultural produce. For China, we are working on a protocol on citrus, which is expected to increase our exports of citrus fruits to the country.” said Majuru last week.

“As the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade is looking to strengthen economic co-operation, Zimbabwe’s missions abroad will assist in connecting local businesses with foreign markets. We will also conduct market surveys to identify potential customers and buyers for local products in those new markets,” he said. Exporting is attractive to businesses in Zimbabwe given the shortage of foreign currency in the country and inflation that is fueled by the depreciation of the local currency versus foreign currencies.

 A long list of industries earmarked by ZimTrade includes horticulture; cotton to clothing value chain sector; arts and crafts; pharmaceuticals; leather and leather products; iron and steel; wood and furniture; and fertiliser and chemicals. For the services industry, priority sectors include tourism services; transport services; education services; medical services; business services; Information, Communication Technology; energy-related services; construction and engineering services; financial services; and events and meetings industry.

It is also pleasing to note that ZimTrade is investing in preparing local players for export readiness. “Currently, we are developing players in the sectors to be export-ready while at the same time providing them with relevant and up-to-date market information and intelligence so that they produce from the market-in approach. We are supporting developed sectors with market access and in-market promotion by identifying buyers and exhibitions where they can get exposure and find off-takers for their products,” Majuru added.

ZimTrade will be hosting dissemination seminars on Thursday and Friday in Harare and Bulawayo this week to share findings of market surveys it conducted for some of the seven regional markets last year. The events will have information for Angola, Malawi and Namibia.