BY MTHANDAZO NYONI
PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa yesterday called on industrialists to enhance value addition and diversify their exports to end the exportation of raw commodities.
Primary commodities have dominated Zimbabwean exports for decades.
But under a combined domestic and African push, calls to scale up processing have increased, and Zimbabwean authorities agree that this is the way to go.
Mnangagwa, who gave a keynote address at the Zimbabwe-Rwanda Trade and Investment conference in Harare yesterday, said local industrialists must move with the trend.
“The outcomes and recommendations of the conference deliberations must continue to inculcate a culture of progressive collaboration, production and productivity,” he said.
“In this regard, I call upon our industrialists to enhance value addition and diversify our export mix through competitive and efficient value-chains.
“In doing so, Africa will put to an end the perennial and unfortunate challenges of exporting primarily raw commodities. Furthermore, the deliberations at this conference should result in the crafting and refining of models to nurture entrepreneurial skills and grow businesses in sync with changing realities and trends the world over,” he added.
Mnangagwa said growth in processing must take into account the aspect of the ongoing Fourth Industrial Revolution which includes research and development, innovation, and entrepreneurship among others.
He said the country’s exports were critical aspects of “our National Development Strategy 1 and our quest to realise sustainable economic growth”.
Raw commodities exported by Zimbabwe include nickel ore and concentrate, nickel matte, gold, tobacco, ferrochrome, platinum and diamonds.
He said investment and exports were key to improved quality service delivery to the populace.
The President said Rwanda and Zimbabwe had a collective responsibility to shift historical trends characterised by low trade volumes between the two countries.
Mnangagwa said the partnership between the two institutions, ZimTrade and Rwanda Development Board, should result in increased trade volumes.
“Now is the time for you to actualise the various agreements between our two countries while improving the efficacy in our trade and economic competitiveness.
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