Exports etches closer to US$7,2 billion target
When President E.D. Mnangagwa launched the National Export Strategy in 2019, he challenged the industry, including small businesses, to make bold steps that will grow exports by ensuring at least part of their production is earmarked for foreign markets.
“I urge local producers at every level to aim to have a minimum component of their total output going towards exports, for example through the ratio of 80 percent for local markets and 20 percent for export markets.”
The President also noted the need to integrate all businesses and previously marginalized communities into mainstream export business.
“The culture of producing for export needs should be inculcated amongst all producers, and in particular small and medium enterprises in our country.
“Women and youth-owned business must be facilitated to increase their capacities so that they too innovate and effectively participate in growing our growing export-drive policy,” he said.
The call by the President is bearing positive fruits on the export front.
With months left to the first goal post of US$7,2 billion exports by end of this year, as espoused in the National Export Strategy, indications are that exports of goods and services will surpass the target if the same growth recorded in 2022 is sustained.
Combined figures of merchandise and services exports from Zimstat and the recently presented Monitory Policy Statement by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe show that Zimbabwe’s total exports stood at US$7,02 billion in 2022.
Of this figure, exports of merchandise stood at US$6,59 billion between January-December 2022, whilst exports of services stood at US$434 million.
Figures shows that exports of merchandise grew by more than US$500 million between January-December 2022, and if the same growth is sustained, the country will meet its end-of-year target.
Zimbabwe has been sustaining exports-growth over the past few years, owing to interventions and programmes put in place by the Government and related institutions to promote the visibility of Zimbabwe products in regional and international markets.
Figures show that Zimbabwe’s total exports of merchandise and services of were US$4,7 billion in 2020, and grew to US$6,2 billion in 2021, and subsequently US$7,02 billion in 2022.
When looking at the composition of exports, it is encouraging to note that manufactured or value-added products grew by 12,9 percent, thus surpassing the 10 percent growth target as required by the National Export Strategy.
Exports of manufactured products grew to US$366 million between January-December 2022, up from US$324 million recorded during the same period in 2021.
What has also been encouraging is the penetration of Zimbabwean products to non-traditional markets, thanks to the economic diplomacy agenda being championed by President Mnangagwa, through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade.
Exports to the United Arab Emirates passed the US$2 billion mark, up from US$833 million in 2019 and the market now contributes 32.3 percent to total exports.
Exports to China, Belgium, Zambia, Italy and Netherlands have grown tremendously over the past year.
Figures show that China is one of the leading emerging markets for Zimbabwean products, taking merchandise worth around US$584,5 million in 2022, up from just US$3,25 million in 2019.
Exports to Italy grew from US$2,3 million in 2019, to US$61 million in 2022, a significant growth that will contribute towards meeting national export targets.
The value of goods exported to Netherlands has also grown from US$2,71 million in 2019, to US$47,87 million in 2022.
Exports to Zambia have also grown by 50 percent between 2019 and 2022, from around US$60 million to around US$90 million.
Processed foods exports made a rebound, growing by 25 percent during the period under review, from US$59 million in 2021 to US$74 million in 2022.
Major contributors in the sector were sugar, confectionery products, and fruit juices.
The growth follows the continued participation by sector players in trade promotion events organized by ZimTrade, the national trade development and promotion organization.
In 2022, ZimTrade facilitated market linkages between local producers and potential businesses in regional markets such as Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Zambia, Mozambique, Botswana, Tanzania, and Malawi.
These events have strengthened linkages between local food processors and major distributors in the region.
This year, ZimTrade plans to take businesses in the sector to non-traditional markets such as Ghana where a market survey conducted last year revealed potential for local products.
These activities in non-traditional markets will complement planned events in markets in the region such Lubumbasi and Kolwezi in DRC, Zambia, Botswana, Namibia, and Mozambique.
Manufacturedtobacco exports increased from US$56 million in 2021 to US$72 million in 2022 translating to a 25 percent growth in exports.
Players in the sector are also targeted to participate in trade promotion events taking place in international markets, with United Arab Emirates and China being some of the promising markets.
Further to this, exports of agricultural inputs and implements grew by 35 percent during the reviewed period, up from US$23 million to US$31,2 million in 2022 period.
Major exports were maize seed amounting, soya bean seeds, fruit seeds, and spores.
Packaging and stationery sector’s exports increased from US$9,2 million in 2021 to US$11,6 million in 2022 translating to a 25 percent growth.
Major exported products in the sector were cartons, boxes and paperboard, paper and paperboard, corrugated, creped and corrugated, creped in rolls or sheets (US$4 million).
Arts and crafts sector also recorded a marginal growth from US$8 million in 2021 to US$8,6 million in 2022.
Although the figures are still low, it is encouraging to note that the aquaculture sector is making recoveries, with exports from the sector jumping by 117 percent during the period under review, from US$689 thousand in 2021, to US$150 million in 2022.
The sector is expected to continue growing this year following the participation of arts and crafts businesses at the Ambiente trade fair, held recently in Germany.
Exports from the mining sector grew from US$4,7 billion in 2021 to US$5,1 billion in 2022, translating to eight percent growth.
Furthermore, unmanufactured exports increased from US$780 million in 2021 to US$926 million in 2022 translating to 19 percent jump.
As Mainland China market opens after a considerable time under lockdown due to COVID-19, exports of tobacco to the market are expected to continue increasing.
Building and construction materials total exports stood at US$42 million during the period under review, down from US$43,8 million recorded in 2021.
Despite a slowdown in the sector, ceramic tiles exports increased from US$9,4 million in 2021 to US$16,5 million in 2022.
Also among shakers is the clothing and textile sector, which recorded a 13 percent decrease, from US$22 million in 2021 to US$19 million in 2022.
Hides and skins exports also decreased by 19 percent from US$28 million in 2021 to US$23 million in 2022.