‘Zim, DRC businesses must ride on trade policies’

Speaking at the Zimbabwe-DRC business forum hosted by ZimTrade recently, Chimbindi noted that the trade figures between the two countries were not pleasing despite an uptick.

FOREIGN Affairs and International Trade permanent secretary Albert Chimbindi has urged Zimbabwean and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) businesses to ride on bilateral trade policies between two countries and build sustainable partnerships as well as harnessing economic potential for mutual growth.

Speaking at the Zimbabwe-DRC business forum hosted by ZimTrade recently, Chimbindi noted that the trade figures between the two countries were not pleasing despite an uptick.

“As Zimbabwe, we have implemented policies and measures to support trade, including trade facilitation programmes, special economic zones and investment promotion,” he said.

“We have also established Zimbabwe Investment and Development Agency to aid in this so that we can improve trade between Zimbabwe and other countries. We also have our host ZimTrade, let us create an environment for a brighter future and seize this opportunity to establish long-lasting business relationships.”

He urged the two countries to take this initiative seriously as it was a gateway to the success of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area.

“The objective of this mission is to improve the quality of life for people in the region, strengthen commercial and economic relations between our countries and harness our economic potential,” Chimbindi said.

“The DRC is open to business, and Zimbabwe is a strategic partner, offering a gateway to the rest of the continent. We also need to take this more seriously because this is also a gateway towards the Africa Continental Free Trade Area.”

He said local companies were already doing business with the DRC, with a significant increase in trade from US$32 million in 2018 to US$87 million in 2022.

“But this is not an impressive number; there is more that is to be done to take those numbers higher,” the secretary said.

ZimTrade director of operations, Similo Nkala said they were committed to strengthening trade relations between the two countries and encouraged DRC representatives to explore opportunities Zimbabwe has to offer.

“There is still much to be done to improve our commercial relationship, and we are committed to expanding trade links between Zimbabwe and the Democratic Republic of Congo,” Nkala said.

“We have demonstrated our dedication to developing trade with the DRC through partnerships and initiatives. Today's mission is one of our many efforts with the RDC-RGC (Régie des Chemins de Fer du Congo) over the past year.

“We started by accelerating trade in 2018, followed by various in-house participation to foster trade between our two countries. I invite Congolese businesses to explore partnership opportunities with local counterparts.”

The provincial vice president of FEC Katanga DRC, Lambert Mutando Tshisueka said DRC offers a lot of opportunities anchored by the mining sector.

“The Democratic Republic of Congo offers many investment opportunities, particularly in the mining province of Katanga, where sectors like mining, transportation, energy and agriculture are attractive to national and foreign investors,” he noted.

“We need collaboration and flexibility in our legislative framework to facilitate investments, joint ventures and service delivery in the mining sector.”

He said the agriculture sector also possesses a great opportunity for investment in the country, with vast land still to be utilised.

“Agriculture is also an opportunity for foreign investors, with 3,5 million hectares of arable land available in the Katanga province and abundant rains for 142 days per year. The new investments will benefit from a significant market share, with over 22 million inhabitants in the southeast region depending on this market,” Tshisueka said.

“The fishing industry and cattle raising are promising sectors, and the agro-industrial sector is underdeveloped but has potential.”

He also said that the country has so much potential for investment in the energy and electricity sector, where they offer purchasing agreements through their national electricity company.

“The energy sector presents an invaluable potential for hydroelectricity and renewable energy, with opportunities for new investors since its liberalisation in 2014. The hydraulic dam of the Eiffel Tower has the potential to produce up to 100 000 megawatts of electricity, twice as much as South Africa's current production,” he said.


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