Prosper Ndlovu, Business Editor
ZIMBABWE is pursuing revitalisation of strategic industrial value chains as part of efforts to enhance domestic productivity and substituting imports while positioning local businesses to tap into trade opportunities under the African continental free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
The country’s manufacturing sector is on a recovery mode, evidenced by the accelerated increase in capacity utilisation, which the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI), the largest industry lobby body, is estimating to close the year at 61 percent compared to 47 percent last year, and 36 percent in 2019.
Guided by the National Development Strategy (NDS1:2021-2025), the Government and the private sector are agreed on the need to up-scale industry operations through leveraging on comprehensive policy reforms being undertaken by the Second Republic led by President Mnangagwa.
Under NDS1, the country has committed to spearheading a dual strategic thrust towards private sector led economic growth and export led growth.
Related to this is the drive to create a favourable operating environment through ease of doing business reforms, supported by international re-engagement on all fronts with focus on economic diplomacy.
The country expects these strategies to boost not only intra-Africa trade but penetration of global value and supply chains.
Speaking during the 8th edition of the Southern Africa-Europe CEO Dialogue in Johannesburg last week, Industry and Commerce Minister, Dr Sekai Nzenza, said re-industrialisation was critical towards achieving sustained economic growth.
She told the delegates that under NDS1, Zimbabwe was prioritising key value chains in transforming its economy.
These include; agro-processing, pharmaceuticals, bus and truck assembly, iron and steel, plastic recycling, leather, cotton to clothing and mineral beneficiation value chains.
“I, therefore, invite investors, to take advantage of the existing and emerging opportunities in agro-processing utilising the agricultural throughput available in Zimbabwe. The key words here, are value addition and beneficiation,” said Dr Nzenza.
“There is massive potential for lucrative partnerships as we invest in innovation and technology in pursuit of the 4th Industrial Revolution.
“There has been no better time to invest in Zimbabwe than the present, leveraging on the strategic growth trajectory, consistent policy environment and international market opportunities.”
The minister said Zimbabwe was pursuing these strategies in the context of the regional integration agenda, which has seen the Government signing and ratifying the AfCFTA Agreement, which entered into force on 01 January 2021.
“This has created an open market worth US$1.35 billion in Africa. The implications of the market liberalisation is an increased opportunity to access a bigger market,” said Dr Nzenza.
“However, local players should also gear up and match increased competition from other countries. The industrial linkages herein are very clear, so is the market opportunities provided by Zimbabwe as an investment destination.”
The minister said the productive sector in Zimbabwe was undergoing structural transformation, thereby increasing investments in retooling and refurbishment, which will ultimately see the regeneration of the local economy.
“Synonymous to the regeneration of the productive sector, we have witnessed an increased investment by multinational companies in Zimbabwe — a targeted strategy for private sector-led growth,” she said.
“Under the stewardship of His Excellency (President Mnangagwa) we are beginning to see a distinct growth pattern in the value chains as they respond to the consolidation of strategies, policies and interventions under the whole of Government approach.”
Zimbabwe’s strategic location within the Sadc region and its massive mineral resources, arable land, a favourable climate, natural resources and a high skilled and educated human resource base, also add to its attraction as an investment destination, said the minister.
Dr Nzenza made her presentation on the session titled “The Business Outlook and Impacts of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA): Challenges and Opportunities”, and shared the stage with regional and international economic experts, senior Government representatives and industry executives.