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Zim seeks to boost trade volumes

ZimTrade chief executive officer Allan Majuru

TRADE volumes between Zimbabwe, Kenya, Malawi and Equatorial Guinea have remained low despite the countries having a trade pact and sharing cultural and historical ties, NewsDay Business heard yesterday.

Speaking at a ZimTrade inward buyer mission held in Harare, ZimTrade chief executive officer Allan Majuru said Zimbabwe, Kenya, Malawi and Equatorial Guinea shared a common history of economic struggles.

“Undoubtedly, the shared economic history needs to be transformed in terms of trade, investment and tourism, as well as several other areas of mutual interest among these countries,” Majuru said.

“Despite Zimbabwe and these three countries having a trade pact and sharing cultural and historical ties, the trade volumes between Zimbabwe and these countries have remained relatively low.”

He said there was potential for expanding the range of products that can be traded between Zimbabwe and the three countries.

“By diversifying our offerings, we can significantly enhance the overall trade,” he added.

Speaking at the same event, Foreign Affairs deputy minister David Musabayana said bringing together business executives from Kenya, Malawi and Equatorial Guinea was a clear indication that the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) was living up to its expectations.

“AfCFTA offers us an opportunity to increase intra-Africa trade and to create more wealth for our people. As discussions progress, it is my fervent hope that consideration will be given to putting in place joint marketing activities in order to derive maximum and mutual benefits from the AfCFTA,” Musabayana said.

“In pursuit of trade and investment co-operation, I would like to urge you to consider collaborative efforts, particularly in the areas of innovation, technology transfer, and sustainable development, which are critical to our shared future. These are part of the building blocks for sustainable industrialisation for the African continent.”

Equatorial Guinea ambassador to Zimbabwe, Jose Ela Ebang, also weighed in saying in his country products such as minerals, pineapples, peanuts, bananas, avocados, mangoes, papayas, coconuts, fish and others have been without an export market since 1968.

“We think we should work with ZimTrade so that these products can find an outlet for export,” Ebang added.

Mwayiwawo Polepole, Malawi ambassador to Zimbabwe said products traded between Zimbabwe and Malawi were duty free unlike with other countries.

ZimTrade hopes that this engagement can bring benefits to the countries involved which include economic growth, diversification of trade, access to new markets, lower costs and enhanced competitiveness.

According to Trade Map, the trade balance between Zimbabwe and Malawi in 2021 was US$7,4 million in favour of Malawi with the main goods exported by Zimbabwe being electrical machinery, tobacco and ceramic products, among others.

With respect to Kenya, Zimbabwe’s exports in 2021 amounted to just over US$17 million consisting mainly of sugar and sugar products as well as tobacco and tobacco substitutes.

 Imports from Kenya were worth US$27 million, the main products being printed books, newspapers and other products from the printing industry.

Trade between Zimbabwe and Equatorial Guinea is yet to materialise.

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