LOCAL producers should capitalise on the Sadc export market to tap into the region’s 277 million people, the country’s trade promotion body, ZimTrade has said.
The Sadc region has a combined gross domestic product (GDP) of more than US$570 billion and a GDP per capita of US$3 343,80 with a projected economic growth of 2,4 percent in 2019. According to the African Development Bank (AfDB) Southern Africa Economic Outlook, broad-based economic activity is expected to recover at a modest pace, given the diverging growth patterns for the region’s economies.
In its latest monthly news letter the national trade development and promotion organisation, ZimTrade revealed that it has plans to raise awareness on how the country can earn more from the region which has an added advantage of inexpensive logistical costs.
“In a drive to grow Zimbabwe’s exports in the Sadc region this year, ZimTrade has planned activities, which include market surveys and trade promotion events in regional market,” it said.
ZimTrade is therefore urging local companies to work on diversifying export markets and products within the region in order to increase Zimbabwe’s market share as the nation prepares for the implementation of the AfCFTA.
Zimbabwe’s exports to the Sadc region increased marginally by 4,4 percent from US$2,5 billion in 2015 to US$2,6 billion in 2018.
The exports to the region have been largely dominated by minerals like gold, nickel, chromium ores, ferro-alloys, platinum, granite and unmanufactured tobacco, wood products, cotton, sugar, cement, raw hides and skins. Compared to other trading blocs, Sadc is Zimbabwe’s largest trading market, absorbing about 64 percent of total exports in 2018, with South Africa claiming a dominant share of 52 percent.
Zimbabwe major imports include machinery, fuels, vehicles, packaging material, fertilisers, iron and steel, telephone and chemical products among others.