SOUTH Africa’s President Jacob Zuma is expected to visit Zimbabwe in July to consolidate business deals that would have been signed by a 33-member business delegation that visited the country recently, an official has said.
BY MTHANDAZO NYONI
The South African business delegation visited three cities in Zimbabwe — Harare, Bulawayo and Gweru — seeking investment and trading opportunities.
The initiative was hosted by government and the private sector to boost trade and investment from South Africa that in recent years was skewed in favour of the latter.
South Africa’s Trade and Industry deputy minister Mzwandile Masina told delegates in Bulawayo last week that Zuma would visit Zimbabwe, to consolidate business deals that would have been signed by businesses from the two countries.
“We are reliably informed that President Jacob Zuma will be coming to Zimbabwe in July this year and we hope that this delegation would have concluded some of the deals that are being discussed between you,” he said.
Masina said the delegation represented diverse sectors that sought to invest in agro-processing, mining, healthcare, infrastructure and information and communication technology among others. South Africa is Zimbabwe’s largest trading partner.
According to Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency, trade between South Africa and Zimbabwe for 2015 was $4,2 billion, nearly half of the total trading bill.
South Africa invested $1,29 billion in Zimbabwe in mining, agriculture, banking and retail sectors, according to foreign direct investments markets, between 2003 and 2015.
In 2014, Zimbabwe exported goods and services worth over $2 billion, but its imports from South Africa were $2,73 billion giving a trade deficit of $684 million.
Various sectors are desperately seeking investment as they are stuck with obsolete equipment, a move that has hampered the competitiveness of the local industry.