Rapid Trade Surge: China’s Hunger for Zimbabwean Goods Ignites Economic Boom

Mining and Agriculture Fuel Unprecedented Growth in China-Zimbabwe Trade Relations

by Ikeoluwa Ogungbangbe

Zimbabwean products are experiencing a surge in demand in China, with trade between the two nations skyrocketing by 39.4% to a staggering US$2.43 billion during the first nine months of 2023 compared to the same period in 2022, according to data from the Chinese embassy. This substantial increase has already surpassed the total trade volume recorded for the entire year of 2022.

During this period, Zimbabwe’s exports to China reached a substantial US$1.36 billion, while imports amounted to US$1.07 billion. In August the previous year, China emerged as Zimbabwe’s third-largest export destination, with South Africa ranking as the largest and the United Arab Emirates in second place, as reported by the Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency. On the import front, China claimed the second-largest source market position, following South Africa.

The remarkable growth in trade between China and Zimbabwe has been primarily driven by the export of mining and agricultural products to China. Zimbabwe’s participation in the 6th China International Import Expo (CIIE) in Shanghai from November 5 to 10 has further exposed the demand for their products, promising a bright future for the country’s exports to Asia once local companies meet the order requirements, according to ZimTrade, the country’s export promotion agency.

Zimbabwean participants at the CIIE event, operating under the banner of “New Era, Shared Future,” included representatives from government institutions and the private sector. The CIIE, which began in 2018, has evolved into a significant platform for promoting global trade and facilitating international cooperation. It serves as a comprehensive platform to showcase products and services from across the globe, promote bilateral trade, and foster economic globalization. Various exhibition areas at the expo covered trade in food and agricultural products, consumer goods, services, automobiles, equipment, technology, and healthcare.

Companies participating under the ZimTrade umbrella represented industries such as processed foods, leather, arts, and crafts. Speaking at the Stanbic Bank-China Day event in Harare, ZimTrade’s chief executive officer, Allan Majuru, highlighted China’s value as a crucial market for Zimbabwean products. He noted that ZimTrade has been actively facilitating meetings between Chinese buyers and Zimbabwean exhibitors to stimulate demand for local products.

Liu Baixue, Vice Chairperson of the Chamber of Chinese Enterprises in Zimbabwe, affirmed that trade between the two countries is on a positive trajectory. She expressed optimism that more diverse commodities, especially Zimbabwean citrus, will find their way to the vast Chinese market in the future.

This growing demand for Zimbabwean goods in China marks a significant milestone in their economic relations, offering opportunities for expansion and collaboration in various sectors.

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