ZimÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s exports to S. Africa grew
Exports of manufactured goods to South Africa accounted for 19.6 percent of Zimbabwe’s external trade in 2006, but this grew to 26.8 percent last year, according to the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries’ (CZI) Manufacturing Survey for 2007 released recently.
South Africa replaces Zambia as Zimbabwe’s biggest export destination after exports to Zambia declined to 23.2 percent last year from 26.2 percent in 2006.
However, the survey noted there was a noticeable decline in the overall volumes of trade within the region though exports to Mozambique increased from 5.4 percent in 2006 to 7.1 percent in 2007.
Exports to Botswana fell from 17.6 percent to 12.5 percent from 2006 to 2007 while those to Malawi fell from 12.5 percent to 10.7 percent in the comparative periods.
Exports to other regional trading partners on average declined from 12.5 percent to 7.1 percent.
Zimbabwe’s exports of manufactured products to the rest of the world were on average significantly higher last year than in 2006. These rose from 3.6 percent in 2006 to 12.5 percent in 2007.
According to the survey the decline in overall exports was due to the country’s export un-competitiveness, which was attributed to Western sanctions that bar Zimbabwe from accessing lines of credit from multilateral financial institutions and lending houses.
As a result, a number of companies were classified as “unreliable” by international creditors and could thus not operate at capacity.
Part of the report read, “Consequently, loss of confidence from foreign clients due to failure to deliver has found replacements from the East. Rapid depreciation of the local currency against its major trading partners has made foreign currency expensive thereby rendering exports highly un-competitive on the international scene.”
The survey also noted that non-tariff barriers contributed towards Zimbabwe’s export under-performance.
Again, this was largely as a result of ‘undeclared’ sanctions where some international buyers simply refused to purchase products from Zimbabwe because they did not like the country of origin.
Other factors that contributed to the general downward trend in export receipts in 2007 were foreign currency shortages in Zimbabwe were foreign currency shortages and the unavailability of raw materials in sufficient quantities and at affordable prices.