The ZimTrade Annual Exporters’ Conference was successfully held on Thursday 4 October. The event was attended by His Excellency President Emmerson Mnangagwa, Minister of Industry and Commerce Honourable Nqobizitha M. Ndlovu among senior members of Government, several international trade experts and local executives from exporting businesses.
During his opening remarks, ZimTrade CEO Mr. Allan Majuru cited a large increase in confirmed orders at 2018 Fruit Logistica in Berlin as compared with 2017 as indicative of positive changes in the perception of Zimbabwe on the world market. “Last year, the people we facilitated to attend that fair managed $600,000 of deals. This year, we went to the same fair, and with the new dispensation in place, the companies we took secured $8 million in deals at the fair. It’s because now some issues have been made clear, and people are confident now that if they place an order there will be no disturbances and the order will come.” In terms of a way forward, Mr. Majuru appealed for Government to continue working towards a conducive exporting environment, including streamlined border processes and the provision of foreign currency to purchase crucial raw materials needed by exporters to meet their orders.
“Delays in processing foreign currency payments for purchase of critical raw materials is causing unnecessary production disruptions, as a result industry is losing export orders, further compounding the situation,” he said, adding that there is also a need to ensure that Zimbabwe positions itself better with key trading partners including the USA and the United Kingdom, especially following Brexit.
International speakers included Mr. Dev Chamroo from Maritius where he is a Senior Consultant for CITC Ltd, a
consultancy firm providing advice to among others, governments, the private sector and NGOs. Mr. Chamroo is also a well-regarded strategist and the former CEO of Enterprise Mauritius – the Mauritian equivalent to ZimTrade.
Citing the drastic turnaround of the Mauritian economy from an exporter of raw materials into a highly diversified and interlinked market, Chamroo implored the President to ensure a clear vision and quantified targets for economic growth, as well as the streamlining of efforts from all stakeholders, in particular government departments and State Owned Enterprises (SOEs).
“All these institutions have been set up by the government, but when was the last time the president called all the chairmen together and said, ‘I need action, and are you delivering on your mandate?’ What is required is a clear transparent, equitable business environment. We need investment that creates jobs, brings technology, creates exports, creates local entrepreneurship…Do we have one nation, or do we have many nations? The policy is one nation, all actions geared towards that nation. All ministries all agencies all government bodies all should be looking in the direction chosen by the President,” said Chamroo.
Guest of Honour for the event, His Excellency President Emmerson Mnangagwa, then challenged businesses to re-strategise considering the expected increase in Zimbabwe’s exports. He also emphasized the need for market diversification and value addition. “My clarion call today is to diversify our exports through increased value addition
and beneficiation. As mentioned earlier, the current situation where 85 percent of our exports are commodities is unsustainable and is a self-inflicted prejudice. Simply put, this means we are exporting both revenue and jobs. Government is now focusing on attracting investment in value addition and mineral beneficiation to correct this anomaly,” the President said.
Other speakers on the day included logistics, floriculture and horticulture experts including two speaker from
Netherlands import development organization, CBI, financial expert Crispen Mawadza from the World Bank, to name but a few.
The Conference was followed by a gala dinner to celebrate those exporters who excelled in 2017.
Publish Date: Thursday 11 October 2018