Zim Exports Hit US$6 Billion, Surpasses NDS1 Target

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By Alois Vinga

EXPORTS from Zimbabwe earned the country US$6,03 billion in the year 2021, exceeding the target set in the National Development Strategy 1 economic blueprint owing to numerous export promotion facilities, data released by government’s statistical agency, Zimstart shows.

The Southern Africa nation has targeted to attain an upper middle income status by 2030 leveraging on a the projected export-oriented economy as enunciated in blueprints like the NDS1.

Trade promotion agency, Zimtrade hailed the development, underscoring that it is a good signal.

“Exports between January-December 2021 stood at US$6,03 billion, which is a 37,3 % increase compared to US$4,39 billion recorded in the same period in 2020.The US$6 billion-dollar mark, breached by local exports, is the highest ever recorded figure,”  the agency said.

The lobby group attributed the  jump in exports, which exceeds the 10 % as required by the National Export Strategy, to the  spirited re-engagement drive undertaken by President Mnangagwa’s Second Republic.

During the period, the value of imports also went  up by 33,3%  to US$7,57 billion from US$5,68 billion in 2020, pushing the trade deficit up to US$1,54 billion during the period under review, from US$1.29 billion recorded during the same period in 2020.

“Although some may record the increase in imports as an unfavorable development, it is encouraging to note that the bulk of imports were raw materials and capital equipment being channeled into the local manufacturing sector to boost production,” Zimtrade said .

The lucrative raw materials imports were backed by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) foreign  exchange auction system which has seen 62% of the total US$1,9 billion allotted in 2021 alone going towards raw material imports.

The period also saw the cotton to clothing value-chain exports increasing  from US$43.9 million to US$102,2 million representing 132% increase.

The arts and crafts sector has been recording positive exports growth for some time, with 2021 figures showing an increase of 56,6 percent, to US$8 million, from US$5,2 million recorded under the review period in 2020.

Furthermore, exports from the horticulture sector jumped by 6.8 percent in 2021 to US$63,6 million, up from US$59,5 million recorded in 2020.

Cigars and cigarettes exports increased from US$26.3 million to US$35.4 million whilst exports of other manufactured tobacco and substitutes declined from US$27.2 million to US$20.6 million.