Oliver Kazunga –Senior Business Journalist
ZIMBABWE’s trade promotion and development agency, ZimTrade, said total exports this year will exceed the 10% target set out in the national export strategy thanks to the country’s successful participation in Expo 2020. of Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE).
The exhibition, which started in October last year, ended on March 31, 2022. Zimbabwe was among 191 other countries present at the multi-sectoral fair.
Under the Second Republic, the country has, among other things, prioritized the growth and development of an export-driven economy as it moves towards an upper-middle-income society by 2030.
ZimTrade Managing Director Allan Majuru said the trade body hosted the Zimbabwe-Dubai Business Forum earlier this year, which took place on the sidelines of Expo Dubai 2020 and complemented the efforts of the Dubai Pavilion. Zimbabwe to increase the visibility of local products and services.
“During the business forum, we organized business-to-business engagements so that local businesses could engage buyers from Dubai and beyond.
“Buyers who have engaged with our companies have expressed interest in sourcing from Zimbabwe, which has revealed huge potential for Zimbabwean products around the world. The trade links created will allow local businesses to easily get their products and services to export markets.
“The National Export Strategy clearly states that we must increase our exports as a country by 10% each year.
“Given the trade commitments to date, it looks like we will meet the target, and perhaps exceed it as we did in 2021, where our exports increased by 37.3%.”
Majuru said a lot of excitement was being generated by local horticultural produce and processed foods, especially in Dubai and the rest of the Middle Eastern markets.
He said markets in Dubai have indicated their willingness to source horticultural products directly from Zimbabwe.
“Currently, they pass them through intermediate markets like the Netherlands. In the future, we expect to see growing demand for our products such as avocados, strawberries, blueberries, citrus fruits, peas, fresh and dried fruits and sweet potatoes.
“In terms of processed foods, our products such as Mazoe and Tanganda tea and many others have a high reputation for quality.
“Diverse product inquiries have been received and we expect to see more from Zimbabwe on international platforms,” the ZimTrade boss said.
As part of promoting trade and improving exports, the agency recently facilitated the participation of local companies in the Asia-Pacific Leather Fair, which took place on the sidelines of Expo 2020 Dubai.
Through the leather fair, local companies in the leather sector and the leather products value chain met with buyers from major markets and discussed order quantities and other requirements.
“We are confident that once companies start fulfilling these orders, we will also see exports from this sector increase.
“These are just examples of the positive leads generated by Expo 2020 Dubai and the ancillary events held to promote Zimbabwe.”
At Expo 2020 Dubai, Majuru said ZimTrade represented companies from all economic sectors in Zimbabwe, both established exporters and new exporters.
Companies participated and interacted with buyers at side events such as the Zimbabwe-Dubai Business Forum.
Cumulatively, more than 50 local businesses participated in the above events.
As part of strategies to improve exports, ZimTrade is expanding its value-added services to ensure that all companies in the country access international markets, not just those that participated in the Dubai Expo.
“Firstly, issues of competitiveness and capacity are crucial in export business as we have to respond to specific market demand and requirements.
“We are in the process of setting up provincial clusters in accordance with the government’s desire for deconcentration. The goal here is to unlock the export value of the unique natural resources the provinces are endowed with.
“Ultimately, we aim to increase each district’s contribution to national exports,” Majuru said.
He said the agency was also extending capacity development activities to previously marginalized groups across the country as part of strategies to boost exports.
“We will launch an export program targeting women this month, the objective of which is to transform women-led businesses into export companies.
“There are several other programs targeting youth-led businesses, rural communities, as well as small and medium enterprises.
“As more and more countries have opened up their economies, we plan to organize a series of export promotion events, such as facilitating the participation of Zimbabwean companies in international exhibitions and trade fairs; 15 companies take part in Fruit Logistica, the world’s largest trade fair for horticultural producers with exhibitors from more than 88 countries.
At the event, local exporters are expected to engage buyers and they will discuss trade agreements and specific market requirements.
Several such events were organized throughout the year to strengthen engagements between local businesses and buyers from the rest of the world.
“Other export promotion events that have been scheduled include outbound seller missions like the one that took place in Lubumbashi in May, and inbound buyer missions,” Majuru said.