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West still major trading partner despite Look East policy

Shakeman Mugari

EUROPE, America and Africa remain Zimbabwe’s major trading partners despite government’s Look East thrust, latest figures from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) reveal.


The figures show that local companies are still exporting the bulk of their products to traditional markets. Although the Look East policy started three years ago, the numbers indicate that there is very little business going on between Zimbabwe and Asian countries which are the major focus of the policy.


Central bank numbers show that for the six months to June this year Africa and Europe made up a combined 81,37% of Zimbabwe’s exports. The country exported goods worth US$801 million during the same period with Africa taking up US$330 million (41,12%) while goods worth US$323 million (40,25%) going to Europe.


Trade between Zimbabwe and the United States amounted to US$22 million (2,84%) while Australia and Canada imported goods worth a combined US$2,3 million (about 0,30%).


The figures show that the trend is unlikely to change by year-end and that local companies remain heavily reliant on the same traditional markets. Europe is still doing significant business with Zimbabwe despite the political standoff.


South Africa remains Zimbabwe’s largest trading partner in Africa while the EU countries and Britain are the major destinations for the country’s exports to Europe. China, which is the major target of the Look East policy, is lumped with many other countries under the “others” section which, according to the figures has so far contributed a combined US$124 million (15,49%) in foreign currency to Zimbabwe.


Last year Zimbabwe earned US$1,7 billion with Europe and Africa being the main exports destinations. African countries took up 40,43% of the exports while 36,34% of exports went to Europe and 4,16% to the US.

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