Addressing delegates at a Zambia-Zimbabwe Business Forum in Bulawayo, Zambia Development Agency director Mr Glyne Michelo said trade between the two countries had grown over the years.
“In the last five years, the trend in exports increased by 197 percent from $82 million in 2007 to $243,9m in 2011 respectively,” he said.
The growth in exports was as a result of trade in products such as maize and tobacco.
He said the two countries enjoyed cordial bilateral trade relations for over 20 years adding that Zambia and Zimbabwe had been able to implement various projects aimed at enhancing economic benefits of interaction and co-operation.
Over the years, Zambia exported to Zimbabwe mainly maize, tobacco, wire of refined copper, light petroleum, protein concentrates, footwear, waste and scrap of paper.
On the other hand, Zimbabwe exported to Zambia products such as cement, soya bean, coal, ferro-chromium, cereals, fish and furniture.
Mr Michelo said the establishment of a Joint Permanent Commission for Co-operation between the two countries had enabled the implementation of infrastructure development projects such as the one-stop border post at Chirundu, which had gone a long way in reducing the cost of doing business.
He said his country recently experienced increased investment from Zimbabwe in sectors such as agriculture, manufacturing, real estate, tourism and transport.
“Over the last 11 years, around 200 investors have set up no less than 200 companies with approximately $462,3 million of foreign direct investment. The jobs created from this investment have totalled 15 089.”
Mr Michelo said the business forum organised by Zambia Development Agency and ZimTrade would ensure that the business community from the two countries get a platform to strengthen their business links expected to culminate in actual execution of business transactions.
Speaking at the same occasion, ZimTrade chief executive officer Ms Priscilla Pilime said: “The business community from Zimbabwe and Zambia should not just focus on trade between themselves. We are able to meet bigger economies of scale if we embrace the regional approach.”
Zimbabwe and Zambia are Sadc and Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa member states supporting efforts being made through the tripartite framework to coordinate the programmes of Comesa.