Zimbabwe Eyes Lucrative African Markets Through AfCFTA

The country seeks to conclude deals worth over $20 million at the Inter-Africa Trade Fair in Cairo, Egypt.

by Motoni Olodun

Zimbabwe is targeting to tap into the vast opportunities offered by the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), a trade bloc that aims to create a single market for goods and services across the continent. The AfCFTA, which came into effect in January 2021, covers a population of 1.3 billion people and a combined gross domestic product of $3.5 trillion.

According to the Herald, a Zimbabwean newspaper, the country is seeking to conclude deals worth over $20 million at the Inter-Africa Trade Fair (IATF) in Cairo, Egypt, where it will showcase its products and investment opportunities to potential buyers and investors. The IATF, which runs from November 9 to 15, is expected to facilitate trade and investment deals worth $43 billion among the 75 participating countries.

Zimbabwe’s Industry and Commerce Minister Stembiso Nyoni said the country is open for business and is determined to facilitate investment-led economic growth and industrialisation. She said the country aspires to see the manufacturing sector propelling Zimbabwe into an upper middle-income society by 2030.

ZimTrade, the national trade development and promotion organisation, said Zimbabwe brought a strong contingent of exhibitors that comprised mainly of youth and women, in line with President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s thrust of empowering the specific demography and gender. ZimTrade chief executive officer Allan Majuru said the country hopes to get deals in excess of $20 million and to learn international best practices to foster intra-Africa trade.

He added that Zimbabwe will also benefit from some side deals that have been signed by local companies, such as a $40 million facility for CABS, a banking institution, and a $140 million deal for Exodus, a construction company.

Zimbabwe’s participation at the IATF is in line with its engagement and re-engagement drive, which is being spearheaded by President Mnangagwa. The country has also been pursuing a Look East Policy since 2003 when it faced economic sanctions from the West. The policy has yielded positive results, as evidenced by the rolling out of big infrastructure projects backed by China and the increase in trade between the two countries.

The AfCFTA offers a unique platform for businesses to access an integrated African market that has the potential to boost intra-African trade, diversify exports, attract foreign direct investment, and create jobs. The World Bank has estimated that by 2035, real income gains from full implementation of the AfCFTA could be nearly $450 billion. It has also suggested that Africa could see a rise in foreign direct investment by up to 159%, and a rise in exports to the rest of the world of 32%, while intra-African exports could grow by 109%, led by manufactured goods.

Zimbabwe is poised to take advantage of these opportunities and to contribute to the economic transformation and sustainable development of Africa.

Source: The Herald


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