The Sunday News
Chrispen Gumunyu, Business Reporter
THE Standards Association of Zimbabwe (SAZ) will conduct export competitive training workshops aimed at imparting companies with the requisite information of exploring international markets.
SAZ director — certification service Mr Sebastian Zuze said the association would roll-out export competitive seminars in various parts of the country with the first one being penciled for Bulawayo this month.
He also said the training workshops would go a long way in ensuring companies improve the export competitiveness of their products ahead of the opening of trading through the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) on 1 July 2020.
“The AfCFTA is a way of trying to break down barriers to trade and ensure that Africa has one market just like the European Union. What this means for us is that we need to produce goods that are of high quality which will be competitive.
“So our industry needs to start preparing for that which is why as SAZ we will be hosting workshops to engage businesses and see in which areas they lack and how we can assist them. We will conduct a two-day workshop in Bulawayo within the first week of September,” said Mr Zuze.
AfCFTA) is a trade agreement which is in force between 27 African Union member states. It was signed in Kigali, Rwanda, on 21 March 2018. As of July 2019, 54 states have signed the agreement. Ratification by 22 countries was required for the AfCFTA to enter into force and for it to become effective. The agreement will function as an umbrella to which protocols and annexes will be added.
It has been indicated that trading under the AfCFTA Agreement will begin on 1 July 2020 paving the way for one of the largest free trade areas in the World since Africa’s population is currently at 1,2 billion people and is expected to grow to 2,5 billion by 2050.
Mr Zuze said Eastern African countries had already started had already taken the lead through trading in a free market thus the need for Zimbabwean companies to start preparations to operate in such conditions.
“We want to target every business that is exporting their products because their goods must be competitive meaning they are favorably priced as compared to other goods. East African countries have already done this started operating in a single market which is why we need to prepare by raising awareness so that we are not swallowed by other countries by means of an influx of imported goods from countries that were better prepared,” he said.