Businesses in Zimbabwe and Botswana are set to benefit from a virtual trade mission that will enhance trade relations between the two countries.
Considering the risks posed by coronavirus on physical meetings, the virtual trade mission – scheduled for 20-21 August – is intended to ensure an increase in ZimbabweBotswana trade, leveraging on areas of advantage and strengths in the two economies.
The event is being organized by ZimTrade in partnership with the Botswana Investment and Trade Centre (BITC).
ZimTrade CEO, Allan Majuru, said the new norm means companies that are looking to remain relevant in export markets should embrace technologies, which will guarantee continued engagements with international buyers.
“The prevailing environment in which we find ourselves operating in has called on businesses the world over to embrace use of the internet in doing business.
“Whereas the norm was to travel to different countries showcasing products and services at trade fairs and on trade missions, companies are having to do so through digital platforms,” he said.
As one of the objectives of the virtual mission is to improve network between companies in the two countries, a matchmaking platform has been created where companies register to set up meetings with possible business partners in areas of interest.
Although registration of companies is still ongoing, the current list of Botswana companies is drawn from sectors such as fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG), agricultural inputs and implements, and services sector.
Expectations are that companies in other sectors will also register in the coming days.
Registration for Zimbabwean companies is still in progress.
Botswana is one of Zimbabwe’s traditional trading partners and local companies can take advantage of the proximity between the two countries to land products at a competitive price.
Botswana’s Francistown, which is closer to Zimbabwe than the capital Gaborone can be used as an entry into the market.
Zimbabwe’s trade with Botswana has in the past three years shown steady growth with Zimbabwe’ exports moving from US$19.2 million in 2017 to US$43.3 million in 2019.
A contributing factor to this is the increased effort in nurturing trade between the two countries and continued activities by ZimTrade to identify areas of opportunities for local companies.
A market survey conducted by ZimTrade in Botswana in 2019 revealed potential for local businesses to supply an array of products and services to Botswana.
These export opportunities are in sectors such as processed foods and fresh produce sectors, agricultural implements and inputs, building material and mining supplies.
For example, Zimbabwean companies have potential to export mainly processed foods such as pork products, tinned foods, cereals, milk and milk- based products, cordials, biscuits, and sweets.
Botswana is also a net importer of fresh produces that local exporters have capacity to supply.
Produce such as vegetables, bananas, apples, oranges and pepper can perform well in the Botswana market and local exporters can earn more if they value add their commodities.
Although South African companies will be a competitive challenge for local companies that are looking to increase their market share of Botswana, there is potential to supply the retail sector in Botswana as all retailers source both directly from the manufactures as well as through distributors or agents.
Local exporters can also leverage on Zimbabwe’s global reputation of a producer of quality products as some local brands are already household brands in Botswana.
Batswana regard Zimbabwean products to be of great quality and some buyers who interacted with locally produced products at the Botswana Global Expo held last year indicated willingness to “go Zimbabwe” if local players are able to supply.
Further to this, Botswana is largely an open market economy, with the business environment being highly facilitative of trade and investment for both local and foreign players.
Registration for the virtual trade mission is currently in progress and companies interested in participating can contact Mrs. Jacque Nyathi on firstname.lastname@example.org, or mobile 0773 445 841.
For more information please contact ZimTrade on +263 242 369 330-41 or email us at email@example.com. You can reach our Communications Team on firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com