Continued engagements with foreign countries on deepening economic cooperation by President Mnangagwa’s Second Republic continue to bear fruits as export figures indicate the country will meet its export growth targets.
Statistics released by Zimstat recently shows that the country recorded a 31 percent export growth during the first half of the year compared to the same period last year.
According to Zimstat, the country’s exports between January-June this year stood at US$3.3 billion compared to US$2.52 billion recorded same period in 2021.
Figures from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) also show that trade is services has been recovering as travel and transport services are picking up across the world.
In the first half of this year, services exports grew to US$175.9 million, compared to US$102.5 million recorded during the same period last year.
With regards to imports increased by 18 percent to US$4.1 billion from US$3.4 billion in 2021, according to Zimstat.
Although some might view growth in imports as unfavorable, it is encouraging to note that the bulk of imports have been machinery and equipment, as well as raw materials.
During the period under review over the past two years, the country has witnessed a steady growth in imports of machinery and equipment, from US$382 million in 2020, to US$654 million in 2021, and US$802 million this year.
Imports of raw materials have also been up during the review period, from US$280 million in 2020, to US$461 million in 2021, and US$664 million in 2022.
Consequently, the trade deficit for the period under review this year stood at US$772 million which is a decrease when compared to a deficit of US$923 million recorded during the same period in 2021.
According to the National Export Strategy, launched in 2019, the country has a target of US$6.26 billion in exports of goods and US$651 million in services.
The current export record of US$3.3 billion shows that the country has attained just above 50 percent of the target, and projections are that we will meet the end of year target.
The Mid-Term Monitory Policy Statement presented by Reserve Bank Governor, Dr. John Mangudya, revealed that the country’s exports are projected to close the year 2022 at US$7.35 billion which will be above 2023 target set in the National Export Strategy.
These positive statistics are as a result of the Second Republic’s efforts to restore the country’s economy by focusing on increased trade, investment and international
The National trade development and promotion organization, ZimTrade, has also been intensifying activities to link Zimbabwean exporters with markets on the continent and beyond.
For example, ZimTrade recently concluded a market scan of Senegal to establish areas of potential for diversified Zimbabwean products and services.
This scan follows other surveys conducted in Kenya and Ghana earlier this year.
The choice for these markets is guided by the need to fully exploit opportunities that have been brought by the African Continental Free Trade Area, whose objective is to improve trade between countries on the continent.
Earlier this week, ZimTrade also hosted buyers from leading fresh produce and meat distributors from Dubai, during an Inward Buyer Mission held in Harare.
These market information, export development and export promotion activities, together with other programmes implemented by the Government, have underpinned export growth during the first half of this year.
Processed foods sector has been registering growth in the first half of the year, and this has been attributed to the growing preference for local products in regional markets..
During the period under review processed foods exports increased by 31 percent from US$27.5 million in June 2021 to US$35.9 million in June 2022.
The country has resumed exports of sugar to some countries that it had faced some challenges in in exporting in 2021.
Manufactured tobacco exports increased from US$26.8 million in June 2021 to US$28.1 million in June 2022 translating to 4.7 percent growth in exports.
With ZimTrade’s current efforts to assist the sector to break into the Middle East where there is potential for exports, there are indications of sustained growth from the sector.
Further to this, exports from the hides and skins sector increased by 44 percent from US$7.2 million in the first half of 2021 to US$10.4 million during the same period in 2022.
Major export product in the sector were raw hides and skins.
The building and construction total exports stood at US$19.5 million during the period under review, marginally up from US$19.4 million recorded in 2021.
Ceramic tiles exports increased from US$2.6 million in June 2021 to US$7.3 million in 2022.
Zimbabwean products are most preferred in regional markets such as Botswana and Zambia, owing to their high quality compared to competition.
Other sectors that also recorded an increase in exports include the packaging and stationery sector’s exports, which recorded an 85 percent growth, from US$4.4 million in June 2021 to US$8.2 million in June 2022.
Major exported products in the sector were cartons, boxes and paperboard, paper and paperboard, corrugated, creped (US$4.4 million) and corrugated, creped in rolls or sheets.
Exports of manufactured or valued added products also increased by 17.9% from US$143.4 million in Jan – Jun 2021 to US$169.1 million in 2022.
Although exports of value-added products are on the increase, overall exports are still dominated by raw minerals and, which is not sustainable in the long run.
Figures show that exports from the mining sector increased from US$2.07 billion in the first half of 2021 to US$2.73 billion during the same period this year, translating to 32 percent growth.
The increase is mainly caused by the increase in production in mining companies.
Unmanufactured tobacco exports also increased from US$256 million during the review period in 2021 to US$349.5 million in June 2022.
The household and furniture sector recorded a 14.73 percent drop during the first half of this year compared to the same period last year.
Exports from the sector amounted to US$8.6 million, against US$10.1 million recorded last year.
To recover from this, sector players are encouraged to increase production for regional markets, as well as pursue markets such as Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, and Ghana, where there is already an appetite for imported furniture products.
What is crucial is that they should come up with unique and modern designs, especially in modular form, as these are easy to transport and saves on logistics.
The clothing and textile sector exports also marginally decreased from US$11.3 million to US$10.8 million translating to 4.5 percent decrease during the period under review.
Major exports in the sector were men’s or boys’ suits, ensembles, jackets, blazers and trousers.