ZimTrade, the national trade development and promotion organization, will host the first online dissemination seminar tomorrow, to unpack findings of a market survey conducted in Mozambique in March this year.
Traditionally, these dissemination seminars have been held as physical events but due to the risks posed by the global pandemic, coronavirus (COVID-19), the seminar will now be held virtually, a first of its kind for Zimbabwean companies.
During the online event, presentations will be delivered by ZimTrade, Government officials and potential buyers from Mozambique.
The buyers, who will declare their expectations when sourcing from across borders, will be drawn from fast-moving consumer goods, building and construction, agricultural inputs and implements, as well as engineering.
These are the sectors that ZimTrade focused on whilst conducting the research in Mozambique.
Speaking on the decision to host the seminar online, ZimTrade CEO, Allan Majuru, said the current thrust is to ensure that local businesses maximize on potential available in the region regardless of the ongoing global pandemic.
“We understand that COVID-19 has disrupted some business activities in Zimbabwe and beyond but that should not deter local companies from increasing their supplies into the regional markets.
“Currently, international markets are difficult to reach for some sectors. However, given the proximity of markets like Mozambique, local companies are encouraged to shift their focus to ensure they maximise sales on available markets,” he said.
Majuru also indicated that the regional markets provide a soft landing for local products and that ZimTrade has been working with buyers from regional markets to ensure that local companies increase their market share of the export market.
“In line with our strategy, we are engaging buyers in southern African countries, who have indicated a willingness to source from Zimbabwe.
“Going forward, we will be organizing more virtual business to business meetings and other engagements between local companies and buyers in the region, to ensure that we maximise on potential presented by our proximity to most countries in southern Africa,” said Majuru.
As COVID-19 takes a toll on businesses in African countries, regional markets have potential to cushion local companies as they remain easy to access compared to international markets.
This is because most countries in the region have remained open to trade, although the emphasis has been on strategic products.
To stay afloat during these difficult times, local companies must be better equipped to know where to place their products and, in some cases, they will have to adjust their export strategy to ensure that they increase their presence in regional markets.
The mission to Mozambique is in line with ZimTrade’s 2020-2023 strategy as well as the National Export Strategy that seeks to grow exports by 10 per cent annually.
The country shares cordial political relations with Zimbabwe and local companies can leverage on this to boost exports.
Trade between the two countries has been strengthened through a bilateral trade agreement which gives duty and quota-free access on qualifying products.
Likewise, the two countries can also trade under the SADC Trade Protocol which also gives duty and quota-free access to qualifying products.
Mozambique is also a signatory to the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement.
The import bill of Mozambique in 2019 was US$10.9 billion, according to Trade Map.
Of this, Zimbabwe exported goods worth US$354.3 million and value-added goods were dominated by sugar and sugar confectionery, tea and coffee, paper and packaging as well as timber.
From the research conducted, there is potential in products like pharmaceuticals, machinery parts and equipment, poultry meat, agricultural inputs.
More potential also lies in the services sector and these include engineering and teaching.
There are high chances for Zimbabwean companies to boost exports to Mozambique as it is considered one of Zimbabwe’s major trading partners after South Africa and the United Arab Emirates.