Companies in Bulawayo and the entire Matabeleland have been urged to tap into regional markets such as Malawi, Namibia and Angola while taking advantage of vast trade opportunities that exist there.
While Zimbabwe’s export volumes have remained subdued, there are companies that are still exporting mainly to South Africa and few Southern African Development Community (SADC) countries.
Addressing company representatives at a ZimTrade market survey dissemination seminar in Bulawayo Friday, the trade and exports promotion organisation’s director of operations, Philip Phiri, said Zimbabweans were not utilising trade opportunities that exist in SADC member states.
ZimTrade late last year carried out market surveys in Malawi, Northern Namibia and Southern Angola, findings of which were unveiled to Bulawayo corporates.
“We as Zimbabwe are not utilising opportunities that exist,” said Phiri.
He said Bulawayo companies should take advantage of the combined population of 50.8 million and US$126.6 billion Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for the three countries and begin exporting into them.
“The import value for the three countries as at 2018 stands at US$27.4 billion and of that Zimbabwe only exported goods valued at US$35. 3 million, which is just 0.1 percent,” said Phiri.
According to presentations made at the seminar, opportunities exist mainly in the Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCGs), construction industry, beef, pharmaceuticals and many other sectors.
Buyers from the three countries who were part of the seminar said they were ready to do business with Zimbabwean companies.
“Angola is not far from Zimbabwe but we buy beef from Portugal, while Zimbabwe is sleeping,” said an Angolan buyer.
“Angola is for the strong and bold; Angola is a very big market”
ZimTrade regional manager, Similo Nkala, earlier on said there were few Zimbabwean products in Angola but there were numerous opportunities, urging companies to be aggressive as they seek to penetrate that country.
Participants at the seminar, later had one-on-one engagements with the buyers.