SA, Zimbabwe Trade Under Spotlight

A 32-member business delegation is in Zimbabwe to seek out new opportunities under the DTI’s Trade and Investment Initiative.

After operating for two years in an environment which is already saturated, Dianne Kraft decided to take part in this sixth trade mission led by the Department of Trade and Industry to Zimbabwe to seek out new opportunities. This is furniture manufacturer Design Kraft’s first foray into the foreign markets. 

Design Kraft’s CEO Dianne Kraft says, “Johannesburg is very competitive and big businesses tend to throttle the small companies. So we are hoping to be able to look beyond the borders for opportunities.” 

Zimbabwe which suffered a recession wants to establish partnerships that will see these companies supplying machinery to revive production. It’s part of the South Africa’s plan to achieve regional integration.

South Africa Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Vusi Mavimbela says, “It is important that we work on this integration and ensure that we strengthen not just the trade not just selling but actually investing and making sure that we build the industries.” 

Unequal trade relations are a major concern to Zimbabwe’s trade body. 

Most of the Zimbabwe’s exports to South Africa are raw materials and minerals.

The trade deficit with South Africa continues to grow and stands at $3.2 billion.

ZimTrade CEO Sithembile Pilime says, “Looking at the main exports supplied in 2015 38% of imports and absorbed 71% of total imports. But when you look at the South African side it shows [that] Zimbabwe does not feature prominently as a trading partner.

There is also a need for South African to open its market to competitive value added Zimbabwean products as clothing footwear and furniture among others.”

South Africa has invested over R20 billion in Zimbabwe over the last 12 years and says both countries need to exploit their geographical proximity, skills and vast natural resources to address the trade balance.

Trade and Industry Deputy Director-General Pumla Ncapayi says, “The onus is on government to assist our businesses in doing business by addressing the tariff and non-tariff barriers that continue to hinder trade between our two countries.”

The delegation will seek out opportunities in the three cities of Harare, Bulawayo and Gweru in the week-long mission.