A NUMBER of companies in Zimbabwe have set up businesses in countries such as Mozambique, following research surveys conducted by ZimTrade a few years ago to establish export businesses, NewsDay has established.
Speaking to NewsDay on the sidelines of a breakfast session in Bulawayo, where findings of the Namibia Market Survey were released, ZimTrade operations director, Allan Majuru said the surveys they conduct frequently have started paying off.
“We went to Tete [in Mozambique], did market research and two trade missions. We did this quite recently with an inward buyer mission, which came through to Zimbabwe. That is a sign. Some of the companies have literally set up shop in Tete and some have witnessed a lot of business,” he said.
“The reason we had an inward buyer mission was for the companies in Mozambique to come and see that there is potential and we can produce these things, so they appreciate that they are not dealing with fly-by-night people, but people who have set up structures to export.”
Majuru said even in Zambia, where they also did market research and took companies for the Zambian Agricultural Show, a lot of business leads had been established.
He said the government needed to offer export incentives to companies in export business.
“Export incentives really aid our companies to be competitive in the global village despite some of the challenges they face in the operating environment,” Majuru said.
“As ZimTrade, these are some of the things we are putting across. We are saying it is really necessary for us to support our exporters by giving them incentives because, as we speak, for us to get out of the challenges we are facing we need to be export-driven because the market is shrinking and there is no demand locally.”
He said there was demand but local companies were facing liquidity challenges. Majuru said they could target cash economies like Angola and Namibia with high gross domestic product.
“So we need to take advantage of that. But for our companies to then competitively export to those markets incentives play a key role. We are constantly trying to engage our government and regulatory authorities for such measures to be put in place so that our exporters find it easy to do business,” he said.
The survey, conducted between September 2 and 13, 2015, identified opportunities for local products and services in sectors such as building and construction, pharmaceuticals, leather and leather-related products and human capital skills, among others.
Presenting the findings, Africa Corporate Advisers director, Malvern Rusike said companies in Zimbabwe should take advantage of the Namibian market.
He said Zimbabwe and Namibia enjoy cordial political relations and belong to the same regional economic and political bloc, Sadc, which allows duty free trade on defined products.
According to Trade Map, Namibia’s import bill in 2014 was $7,4 billion with Zimbabwe supplying $17,7 million.
In 2014, ZimTrade said Namibia was the 10th largest export destination for Zimbabwean products.
Trade between Zimbabwe and Namibia is governed by the Sadc Trade Protocol and the Zimbabwe-Namibia Preferential Trade Agreement, which offer preferential treatment to qualifying products into each other’s market.