Zim, Zambia discuss easing trade

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Kariba Dam

Zimbabwe and Zambia are currently in talks to address the challenges of doing business between the two countries amid rising trade levels between the neighbours.

BY TARISAI MANDIZHA

Speaking at the launch of the Zambia market research findings, Zambian ambassador to Zimbabwe Ndiyoyi Mutiti said her country has an open door policy but Zambian companies were facing challenges to export to Zimbabwe.

“The government of Zambia and the government of Zimbabwe are talking and this is a sign of a good bilateral relationship. It’s a little too early to get into the nitty-gritties of the issues. Our trade relations are very good and it’s an area that we can build on,” she said.

Total trade between the two countries was worth $283 million in 2014.

ZimTrade chief executive officer Sithembile Pilime said the objective of the market research was to generate information on business opportunities in Zambia as well as to gather relevant market-related intelligence.

“As the national trade development and promotion organisation, our aim is to energise Zimbabwe’s export growth. In this regard, we are continually reviewing and improving our product and service portfolio in order to better serve you. We are working with the International Trade Centre under the EU-funded Trade and Private Sector Development Programme to enhance our service delivery capacity,” Pilime said.

She said Zambia remained an important trading partner for Zimbabwe, ranking third in the region after South Africa and Mozambique.

Pilime said Zimbabwe was already making use of the research findings for Zambia to better prepare for the participation of Zimbabwean companies at the Zambia Agriculture and Commercial Show which will be held from July 29 to August 3.

A Zimbabwean company currently operating in Zambia, Lake Harvest, said it was exporting to Zambia 7 000 tonnes out of the 10 000 tonnes of Kariba breams it produced annually.

General manager Kenneth Jonga said Lake Harvest has 16 selling points in Zambia and the biggest customers were women entrepreneurs among many others.

“We have 16 selling points in Zambia and we produce 10 000 tonnes of Kariba breams and 7 000 tonnes goes into the Zambian market.

“We have challenges due to the influx of Chinese products into the Zambian market which have also killed the market and also the issues of the exchange rates,” Jonga said.

Jonga said the cost of production and labour in Zimbabwe were high and the company was also struggling in terms of profitability.

Apart from Zambia, Lake Harvest exports to Malawi and western markets.

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