Oliver Kazunga, Senior Business Reporter
THE national trade development and promotion organisation, ZimTrade says it is targeting Dubai as a gateway to markets in the Middle East leveraging on the upcoming Zimbabwe-Dubai Business Forum slated for next month.
ZimTrade said it was organising a Zimbabwe-Dubai Business Forum, which is expected to strengthen bilateral trade relations between the country and United Arab Emirates.
“The Business Forum, scheduled for 15-17 February on the sidelines of the ongoing Dubai Expo 2020 will unlock Zimbabwe’s access to the lucrative Dubai market and use this as a gateway to other markets in Middle-East.
“The event will also tackle investment opportunities as the country intensifies campaign to attract top global companies to invest in various sectors of the economy,” it said.
More than 30 companies from the local industry are expected to participate at the event and will engage with potential buyers in the United Arab Emirates.
Apart from engaging buyers in Dubai, participating companies will also engage with visitors to the Dubai Expo 2020 that has recorded more than five million visitors to date since it started in October last year.
“Participating companies from Zimbabwe will be drawn from sectors such as horticultures (including avocadoes, mangoes, macadamia nuts, vegetables, chilies, sweet corn, peas, tomatoes, sweet potatoes), processed foods and beverages, meat and meat products, leather and leather products, clothing and textiles, and essential oils.
“Other sectors that will be represented include manufactured tobacco, building and construction, arts and crats, mining, information and communication technologies, agricultural inputs and implements, and travel and tourism,” it said.
ZimTrade chief executive officer Mr Allan Majuru, said the major objective of the upcoming business forum was to improve the visibility of Zimbabwean products in Dubai, in line with the “Zimbabwe is Open for Business” agenda currently fronted by the Second Republic.
“The objective driving the business forum is to improve exports of Zimbabwe’s products as service to Dubai, which is currently warming up to local products such as horticultural produce.
“Considering the economic diplomacy agenda being implemented by the Government, there is room to transform the good political relations existing between Zimbabwe and Dubai into lucrative export business for local industry,” he said.
He said relations built at the business forum would also make it easy for local companies to leverage on Dubai’s location to improve exports to the rest of the Middle East region.
“Dubai is strategically located between the east and west, which makes it accessible to major emerging economies in the Gulf region, linking shipping routes and facilitating goods movement between the various regions in Middle East, Asia, Europe, and Africa.
“This diversified economy and trade positioning of Dubai creates opportunities for Zimbabwean exporters, particularly those in the horticulture, arts and crafts, and services sectors,” said Mr Majuru.
He said the scheduled Zimbabwe-Dubai Business Forum follows the Outward Seller Mission organised by ZimTrade mid-last year where buyers in sectors such as fresh produce expressed willingness to import from Zimbabwe.
Already, fresh produce buyers are willing to procure avocadoes, strawberries, blueberries, citrus, peas, fresh and dried fruits, and sweet potatoes.
Some of these produces are already finding their way indirectly through intermediary markets such as the Netherlands.
Other produce with potential in Dubai include tea and coffee. The export and trade promotion agency said green tea consumption was growing and coffee processing was increasing in Dubai.
Further to the opportunities in the horticulture sector, there are emerging opportunities for local companies to supply an array of services to Dubai.
Some major companies operating in Dubai have their call centres remotely located, offering huge benefits for start-ups who have no capital to set huge operations,’ said ZimTrade..