Zim Trade Partners Germany Experts To Boost SME Sector
ZimTrade the country’s trade development and promotion body has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with a Germany volunteer organisation Senior Experten Services to assist Zimbabwean companies especially SMEs who require technical assistance in the manufacturing sector.
Addressing stakeholders at the MOU signing ceremony, ZimTrade Board chairman, Lance Jena said the agreement will pave way for SES experts to assist Zimbabwean companies who require technical assistance while enhancing productivity and export competitiveness through factory floor interventions.
“The MOU which will result in local companies receiving technical assistance, could not have come at an opportune time as the country is seeking new ways of developing and promoting exports.
“We are cognizant of the trade deficit which for the period January to September 2017 stood at $1.45 billion.
“It is our belief that through initiatives like this one,we can enhance Zimbabwe’s export capacity and subsequently contribute towards the reduction of the trade deficit to sustainable levels,” said Jena.
He added that the partnership will assist to re-position Zimbabwean industry while making SMEs key drivers of export growth.
“This intervention will assist to reposition our industry especially SMEs to become key drivers of export growth.
“According to the International Trade Centre,SMEs account for two thirds of formal non-agricultural employment in emerging markets and developing countries.
“However their direct export business is a mere 7.6 % of total sales while in Africa it is even lower at 3%.
“The recent Manufacturing Sector Survey conducted by the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries(CZI) indicated that SMEs are facing more challenges as this is evidenced by the fact that most of them are operating below 37 % of their capacity,” he said.
Jena called on beneficiaries of the program to take advantage of SES experts to improve productivity and produce quality products for both domestic and export markets.
SES has implemented various successful projects throughout the continent in countries such as South Africa, Botswana, Mozambique, Zambia among others.
In April 2016 ZimTrade signed a similar MOU with PUM a Netherlands based organisation of Senior Experts which has yielded positive results for various companies through improved efficiencies, cost reduction and new product development.