Zim, Namibia to improve export earnings

The development, which is set to further strengthen the already warm relations between the two Southern African countries, is also likely to generate employment in the informal sector.

Under the global Fair Trade Organisation, which generates business for over 1 million producers and 3 000 small scale organisations, support is given to grassroots production and ensuring that the lives of marginalised producers are improved.

In an interview last week, a regional representative of the Fair Trade organisation and leading Zimbabwean business executive, Laputa Hwamiridza said there was growing cooperation between Zimbabwean and Namibian Fair Trade members.

“A number of companies from both countries have already started jointly servicing orders especially the textile ones which are mostly from the Asian region.

“Although the joint servicing of exports has already started, our belief is that there is still room for more business co-operation between Fair Trade members in the two countries.

“There is so much potential for the SADC region to increase its export volumes and we have already started working on ensuring that the Fair Trade concept spreads to all countries in the region and in this regard we are also developing ways of improving co-operation with our counterparts in Botswana,” he said.

Hwamiridza, the managing director of Dezign Incorporated, a Zimbabwean textile company, represented the region at the recent Fair Trade Conference in Mauritius.

“The theme of the conference was ‘Tools to market African Fair Trade products in the Italian market’ and producers from various African countries were able to share their expertise as well as accessing information on the Italian market for their various products.

“All producers realised that there is potential to more than double their current levels of sales into Italy by being more innovative in line with the trends and tastes of the Italian market that was given by an Italian company, Ctm Altromercato.

“Small scale producers stand to benefit from being Fair Trade members as they will have access to a unique niche market as well as access to financial, technical and organisational support. I believe in Fair Trade as trade and only trade can contribute to the development of Africa,” said Hwamiridza.

Turning to the forthcoming Monetary Policy presentation by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Governor Gideon Gono, Hwamiridza highlighted that it was imperative for the Zimbabwean Ministry of Industry and Trade to evaluate the profitability of exports by industries.

“After the evaluation they should in turn advise the RBZ governor, Dr Gideon Gono on the impact of exchange rate on the viability of exports to the various industries and it should be noted that export marketing requires focus, perseverance and tenacity and as such, the initiatives being taken today will not yield results tomorrow.

“However, the generation of foreign currency should not be left to the conglomerates only but to every capable producer who can be able to meet the needs of an export market. There is need to share market information so that appropriate products to meet market needs are initiated,” he said.

July 2006
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