THE national export promotion agency, ZimTrade, has intensified efforts to increase exports through engagement with different companies in the services sector.
In its monthly newsletter for June, ZimTrade noted that Zimbabwe’s service sector contribution to exports was subdued compared to other countries across the world. “ZimTrade recently conducted a workshop with stakeholders in service sectors such as research, engineering, architecture, finance, arts and culture, ICT and logistics. The purpose of the meeting was to understand how service sectors can be assisted to grow exports,” said ZimTrade.
“Zimbabwe’s service sector contribution to exports is currently negligible, especially compared to countries such as Singapore where services totalled over $161 billion in 2017, approximately half of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).”
The agency has started engaging local service sector players to determine how their contribution to Zimbabwe’s export growth can be improved.
“Feedback from the engagement highlighted access to foreign currency; a lack of collaboration between competing firms to win tenders or share knowledge; a standards shortfall within local businesses; insufficient market knowledge; and the burden of negativity around brand Zimbabwe as the major impediments to services exports,” it said.
While further engagements were necessary, ZimTrade said several first steps were agreed on, including the need for the agency to start working more closely with individual companies in the service sector. The export promotion organisation has also been identified as critical in advising Government on a coherent strategy towards services export promotion, engaging diaspora networks for information, expertise, and contacts as well as for service companies to get training on improving their online visibility.
This was particularly for selected modules of ZimTrade’s Marketing and Branding for International Competitiveness (MBIC) training programme.
Meanwhile, the 2018 Bulawayo edition of the Marketing and Branding for International Competitiveness (MBIC) training programme will run from July 26-27 with a second session set for August 23-24.
“The planned modules will be of use to companies from sectors such as building and construction, engineering, processed foods, clothing and textiles, and leather and leather products,” said ZimTrade.