By Nozipho Maphala
ZIMTRADE TOOK part in Global Expo Botswana 2023 from 11-14 October in Gaborone and facilitated the participation of 24 companies from different sectors to showcase their goods and services at the expo.
The exhibition allowed Zimbabwean companies to directly engage with retail buyers, wholesalers, and distributors as well as the general public who all took a keen interest in the products on display.
Participation at the exhibition is one of many deliberate efforts to leverage relations between Zimbabwe and its neighbour Botswana towards improved trade.
Botswana and Zimbabwe share cordial political relations that have cascaded into better trade relations; and as a result, the two countries have a bilateral trade agreement signed in 2018 which allows duty free, quota free access on certain goods under the agreement.
The Expo gave exhibitors an opportunity to discuss specific market requirements with buyers towards ensuring that our local companies produce to requirements in line with Botswana’s regulations and market preferences.
Zimbabwe’s strategically planned exports, including agricultural produce, mining products, building and construction materials, clothing and textiles, and processed foods, have increasingly gained significant traction in Botswana’s market.
This expansion of trade horizons has not only boosted Zimbabwe’s export figures but has also showcased its potential as an important regional player.
From agricultural produce to mining commodities and manufactured goods, Zimbabwe’s export basket has become increasingly diversified and reflective of its rich resource endowment.
The diversification has allowed Zimbabwe to tap into new markets while minimizing the risks associated with relying on a single commodity’s export revenues.
As a result, Zimbabwean businesses have been able to capture a larger market share in Botswana, fostering economic growth and employment opportunities back home.
The increased market share has however not only been restricted to larger companies, but to SMEs including youth and women owned business.
To ensure exposure of these two groups, part of the exhibitors at GEB 2023 included past and present participants in the youth exporter incubator program Eagles Nest, as well as the prestigious female entrepreneur empowerment program NEXT She Exporter.
This is part of deliberate moves to ensure that the exporter base is inclusive, and women and the youth are involved in contributing to exports and in trade discourse.
Global Expo Botswana 2023 exhibition was held under the theme ‘AfCFTA as a springboard for enhanced Intra-Africa Trade’, where it was also made apparent that political stability, good trade relations and international trade agreements are critical determinants of success of trade between countries.
The theme was accurate, as bilateral and multilateral agreements between countries can reduce trade barriers, lower tariffs, and foster economic cooperation.
By capitalizing on these agreements, businesses can gain a competitive edge and tap into the Botswana market with ease.