ABOUT 93 percent of Zimbabwe`s exports have been to the Southern African Development Community (Sadc), latest figures from the Competition and Tariff Commission (CTC) have revealed.
Top 10 exports to the Sadc countries show that Zimbabwe substantially exported natural resources and cash crops, which include tobacco, natural pearls, precious stones, metals, ores, iron, steel, sugars, confectionaries, cotton, tea and spices.
Tobacco remains the county’s biggest foreign currency earner in intra– Sadc trade and Zimbabwe is also the top tobacco exporter in the Sadc region.
According to the Competition and Tariff Commission (CTC) Sadc and COMESA are the main destinations for Zimbabwe’s produce.
“Sadc is the natural market for Zimbabwean exports where 93 percent of Zimbabwe’s exports were sold, three percent went to COMESA and four percent to the rest of the world,” said CTC.
Zimbabwe’s exports largely comprise agricultural produce and minerals while the country’s imports were woven fabric, synthetic fibre, canvas and ornamental trimmings among others. A recent United Nations report revealed that Zimbabwe is among the developing countries that heavily rely on commodity exports due to limited diversification of their economies.
This also comes at a time when Zimbabwe has been challenged to ramp up value addition and beneficiation of its products so that the country can benefit from the full implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) once it comes into fruition.
Once established, the AfCFTA will bring together 55 countries, availing a market of 1,2 billion people with a gross domestic product (GDP) of about $3,5 trillion. The goal is to create a single continental market for goods and services, with free movement of business persons and investments.
The agreement has the potential to deliver a great deal for countries on the continent. The hope is that the trade deal will trigger a virtuous cycle of more intra-African trade, which will drive the structural transformation of economies. It is also expected to drive the transition from low productivity and labour-intensive activities to higher productivity and skills-intensive industrial and service activities — which, in turn, will produce better paid jobs and make an impact on poverty. – BH24