SA remains Zim’s largest trading partner

By Tichaona Kurewa

HARARE – South Africa has emerged as Zimbabwe’s largest trading partner in the first two months of 2017 owing to the proximity of the two countries, good road network, and high demand for raw materials and other capital goods.

According to ZimStat, South Africa still ranks high on Zimbabwe trading partners’ list although the later registered a decline in exports in February compared to January 2017. In February 2017, Harare exported goods worth US$185.4 million to Pretoria down from US$214.3 million the previous month while at the same time the country’s imports from South Africa amounted to US$171.2 million up from January’s US$145.5 million.

Other countries on Zimbabwe’s export destination list are Mozambique (US$21 million), the United Arab Emirates (US$20.9 million), Zambia (US$5 million) and Kenya (US$4.8 million).

In terms of imports, Singapore is second to South Africa with Zimbabwe sourcing goods and services worth US$112.5 million followed by China (US$32.3 million) and Zambia (US$10.1 million).

Commenting on this development, economic analyst Emmanuel Mambo said South Africa will remain Zimbabwe’s biggest trading partner in the foreseeable future.

“That’s the way it has been for some time now, it may only change if something dramatic happens,” Mambo said.

“South Africa remains the biggest source of cheap raw materials for Zimbabwe as well as well as destination for Zimbabwe’s exports.”

Zimbabwe’s exports are likely to increase, as the tobacco season has just started. Considering that Zimbabwe has few smokers compared to countries like South Africa and China, more tobacco will be exported to these countries and elsewhere. Apart from tobacco, cotton is also set to boost the Southern African country’s exports as a bumper harvest of the crop is imminent owing to the free Presidential Inputs Scheme availed to cotton farmers, as well as the good rains received in most parts of the country.

The anticipated surge in gold output, among other minerals, will also boost exports while maize bumper harvest is also set to significantly reduce the import bill.

On the February export list are products such as live horses and cattle, fish, yoghurt, honey, macadamia nuts, biscuits, cement, tobacco, electricity, nickel and chrome, among other products.

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