By Alois Vinga
FINANCE Minister, Mthuli Ncube has revealed that 93 percent of the country’s exports are destined for the African market as he urged local industry to up its game and take advantage of the vast international opportunities.
He was addressing delegates at an Afreximbank trade briefing in Harare Monday morning.
“In 2017, 93 percent of Zimbabwe’s total exports were within Africa, with 63 percent of that destined for South Africa market alone.
“In the same year, 53 percent of country’s imports came from the African continent with 40 percent being sourced from South Africa,” he said.
Since becoming the country’s treasury chief, Ncube has been consistent in saying that lack of access to capital due to the huge debt burden on the country’s shoulders was hampering efforts by local manufacturers to improve on both productivity and quality of products, making it difficult for them to compete globally.
He however highlighted that integration of African countries’ efforts towards intra-trade development will diversify trade especially if events like the forthcoming Intra-Africa Trade Fair (IATF) are fully exploited.
Ncube noted that Zimbabwe and other African countries have invested a lot of resources in promoting trade relations with other continents except their own.
According to statistics, Intra Africa trade currently stands at 15 percent, lagging behind other continents such as Europe which stand at 59 percent, Asia 51 percent and North America 37 percent.
“Some of the major culprits behind the poor intra-African trade are poor infrastructure, lack of industrialisation giving limitations to traded goods, similarities in product portfolios within African countries, boarder inefficiencies, non-tariffs barriers and lack of competitiveness of African products,” said Ncube.
He added that as Zimbabwe needs to take advantage of economic recovery and development, platforms such IATF presents opportunities to market the national economic recovery agenda, showcase trade and investment credentials and attract funding and partnerships.