Nqobile Bhebhe, Business Online Reporter
ZIMBABWE ranks first and second in Africa and the world respectively in exports of exotic leather, a sector said to be thriving.
This came out during the official launch of the Leather Value Chain Competitiveness Report attended by various players in the leather sector including farmers, tanneries, and manufacturers in Bulawayo Tuesday morning.
However, various players said the major drawback in increasing capacity utilization was on lack of proper modern machinery, finance, and general infrastructure for value chain development.
Manufacturers say they are struggling to access the $5m revolving fund under the Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) citing high interest rates.
“Two tanneries have been turned down by two banks on account that they do not generate foreign currency,” said Mr Arnold Britten, Zambezi Tanners managing director.
The sector occupies an important place in the Zimbabwean economy in view of its potential for higher employment, growth, and value-added exports.
Zimbabwe was allocated SDR677 million (US$958 million equivalent) by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which is part of the SDR’s General allocation of US$650 billion that was released in 2021.
While SDRs are not a currency, they are a critical international reserve asset created by the IMF to supplement the official reserves of member countries to provide liquidity.
The SDRs were meant to address the long-term global needs for reserves, building confidence and fostering resilience and stability while enabling member countries to cope with the adverse impact of the Covid-19-induced crisis.