Raw Materials Dominate Zim’s Export List 

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By Alois Vinga

ZIMBABWE’s export list continues to be dominated by raw materials despite the existence of vibrant policies aimed at boosting industrial productivity.

The latest Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe’s (RBZ) monthly economic review shows that there was no transformation in the quality of goods leaving the country.

“The country’s export basket continued to be biased towards primary commodities, with gold, nickel and flue-cured tobacco contributing about 72.0% of the country’s export earnings, during the period under review,” the document said.

During the period under review, monthly merchandise exports increased by 9.5% to US$378.4 million in September 2019.

This followed increases in export earnings from flue cured tobacco 41 %; nickel ores and concentrates 32%; and gold 8%.

The details indicate the ineffectiveness of the numerous policies employed by government in a bid to improve productivity.

To date, blueprints like the Transitional Stabilisation Program, budget allocations and tax incentives have been incepted to motivate the manufacturing sector.
Last year , government  launched a three year long  Zimbabwe National Industrial Policy (ZNIDP), with an objective to help transform the economy through value addition, increasing employment levels and promoting a culture of savings.   

But nevertheless, value addition remains a pipe dream for the embattled Southern Africa nation.
In the report, the central bank further reveals the country’s total merchandise trade increased by 7.2%, from US$729.9 million in August 2019 to US$782.2 million in September 2019 driven by increases in both merchandise exports and imports.

The country’s exports were destined for South Africa, 41.1%; United Arab Emirates, 27.1%; Mozambique, 8.1%; Swaziland, 1.6%; and Zambia, 1.4%; Hong Kong, 0.7%; China, and Kenya, 0.6%, during the month under review.
During the same period, merchandise imports rose by 5 % to US$404 million in September 2019, from US$384 million in August 2019.

The increase was largely on account of higher imports of diesel, fertilizers, medicines and electricity.
The merchandise trade developments resulted in the narrowing of the trade balance by 34.9%, from -US$38.9 million in August 2019 to -US$25.3 million in September 2019.