Clinton Moyo, Business Reporter
ZIMTRADE says it has identified a wide range of opportunities for Zimbabwean companies to penetrate the Botswana market as statistics show that Zimbabwe is only exporting an average of $21,5 million worth of its goods to the neighbouring country.
This comes after ZimTrade conducted a market survey in Botswana where a wide range of opportunities for Zimbabwean products and services were identified. The survey, which took place last month, focused on the fast-moving consumer goods sector (including processed foods, horticulture, and household products), agricultural inputs and implements, building and construction materials as well as mining supplies.
In addition, the survey identified other market-related intelligence which will highlight opportunities for Zimbabwean products and services to penetrate the Botswana market. ZimTrade indicated that out of the US$6,1 billion Botswana’s import bill in 2016 Zimbabwe contributes only 0,35 percent.
“Botswana’s import bill in 2016 stood at US$6,1 billion, with Zimbabwe contributing only US$21,5 million (0,35 percent). Trade Map revealed that Zimbabwe’s main exports to Botswana comprise sugar, wood and timber products, animal feeds, cigarettes and steel products such as doors and window frames,” ZimTrade said.
The survey was conducted at a time when bilateral relations between the two countries are set to improve after the Botswana-Zimbabwe Business Forum held in Gaborone last month.
The Forum was attended by President Mnangagwa, senior Government officials and businesspeople from Botswana and Zimbabwe. During the event, ZimTrade signed an MoU with Botswana Investment and Trade Centre (BITC).
The partnership between ZimTrade and BITC was a key deliverable from a day of high-powered meetings, as it will see the two trade bodies sharing market intelligence, supporting each other’s capacity development programmes as well as co-organising trade development and promotional activities.
Commenting on the potential of the Botswana market, ZimTrade acting chief executive officer, Mr Norman Savado implored businesspeople to take advantage of Zimbabwe’s proximity to Botswana and to make use of the Bilateral Trade Agreement between the two countries, as well as the favourable trade preferences offered by the Sadc Trade Protocol.
Meanwhile, local suppliers in the agricultural value chain are gearing up for the Agritech Zambia Expo to take place next month in Chisamba, Zambia where they expect to find a market for their products. Information gathered from ZimTrade shows that the trade promotion body will be supporting 10 local companies to participate in the exhibition.
“ZimTrade is facilitating the participation of ten manufacturers at this event, which is a specialised international exhibition for the agricultural sector value chain,” ZimTrade said.
ZimTrade said the companies will be given the opportunity to learn about the latest global trends in their sector.
“The Expo, which is in its fifth edition, seeks to establish a market place for regional and international industry professionals in the agricultural sector value chain to conduct business, while learning about the latest global trends in their sector,” ZimTrade said.
Products on show will include agrochemicals, irrigation pipes and fittings, fertilisers and agricultural implements.
Some of the participating companies have set up demonstration fields to show case the efficacy of their agro-solutions. ZimTrade said the expo will give the participating companies market in Zambia.
“The event is expected to bring more than 22 000 visitors and over 270 local, regional and international exhibitors. The expo gives Zimbabwe an opportunity to increase exports of agricultural inputs and implements to Zambia and other regional players, and to build further on existing regional trade relations,” ZimTrade said.
This initiative is coming at a time when the regional economic diversification programmes have shifted their attention to agriculture.
The agricultural sector in Zambia and other countries has experienced an accelerated commercialisation and modernisation, which makes the region a lucrative market for Zimbabwean agricultural inputs and implements.
This year’s show will be the third time that ZimTrade has facilitated the participation of Zimbabwean companies, and expectations are high that the significant success of previous years can be extended.-@clintonmoyo2