Finance and Economic Development Minister Mthuli Ncube has urged exporters to look beyond the horizon in their quest for lucrative deals in foreign trade.
The Treasury boss said each of Zimbabwe’s provinces are uniquely endowed with the ability to produce cutting-edge products that can tip the scales in Harare’s favor in international markets.
Addressing the ZimTrade 2022 exporters conference in Harare on Thursday, Ncube reminded attendees that forex spinning exports would always be at the heart of Zimbabwe’s recovery efforts.
“Exports are the main driver of economic development and a major contributor to achieving our Vision 2030,” the minister said, referring to a government plan that foresees huge economic transformation by 2030.
“The role of exporters in this endeavor cannot be overemphasized as they strive to bring in much-needed foreign exchange, create jobs and set the pace for technological advancement,” said the minister.
Ncube said Zimbabwe was on track to meet its export targets despite Covid -19 induced setbacks.
“In 2021, exports grew 37.3% to $6 billion from $4.39 billion in 2020, exceeding the 10% annual growth target,” Ncube said. “The manufacturing sector achieved a 5.5% increase in exports to reach US$404 million in 2021. Over the same period, the overall capacity utilization in the manufacturing sector increased to 56.25% , while capacity utilization for large firms in manufacturing increased to 62.7%, the highest level since 2012,” he added.
ZimTrade Managing Director Allan Majuru said the agency is deepening its efforts to create equal market access for all companies in international markets.
“Our goal as the national trade development and promotion agency is to ensure that we create equal market access for all businesses, regardless of size,” he told the conference. .
Majuru added that small businesses, youth and women-led businesses have shown strong interest in shipping goods to overseas markets.
He said ZimTrade expects exports to hit the US$7 billion mark this year.
The agency had previously forecast that this goal would be achieved in 2023.
This figure was US$6.03 billion in 2021.
At the end of July, total exports amounted to $3.3 billion.
He challenged local exporters to come up with new products that respond to changing consumer behavior.
“As we increase the added value, we must also offer new products that respond to current changes in consumer behavior. Consumers are now looking for organic and natural products. Most indigenous resources can be added to products that meet this global requirement,” said Majuru.