Zimbabwe, Botswana’s constant supplier of timber, sugar, and cement
Long trading partners, Botswana and Zimbabwe have realized a decline in trade amounting to P275 million between 2012 to 2016 period.
Minister of Investment, Trade, and Industry, Vincent Seretse revealed this at the recent Botswana Investment and Trade Centre Botswana-Zimbabwe Business Forum held at the Gaborone International Convention Centre (GICC) on Tuesday.
Speaking at the forum attended by incumbent Zimbabwean President, Emmerson Mnangagwa on his two-day state visit to Botswana and the business fraternity, Seretse said though Zimbabwe remains Botswana’s leading trading partner in the region, there has been a noted decline in exports for both countries.
“Botswana’s exports to Zimbabwe declined by 9% on a cumulative basis from P827 million to P555 million between the period 2012 to 2016,” noted Seretse.
The Minister also revealed an 8% cumulative decline in imports coming from Zimbabwe.
Seretse said the economic sectors highlighted at the business forum, which included Botswana’s export basket to Zimbabwe comprising of salt, veterinary medicines, live animals, and vehicles amongst others were selected in consultation with Zimbabwe and were informed by the observed areas of economic alignment and sector development plans of the two countries.
Zimbabwe has been Botswana’s constant supplier of timber, sugar, and cement.
Seretse also noted that trade facilitation instruments such as the Botswana/Zimbabwe Bilateral Trade Agreement, which allows for goods traded between the two countries to be exempted from payment of customs duties, provided they meet the minimum requirement of 25% local content will go a long way in ensuring trade between the two states.
Speaking to the prospects of local businesses in neighboring Zimbabwe, BITC Director of Public Relations and Communications, Kutlo Moagi said President Mnangagwa’s invite to local businesses is a welcome development.
She said the BITC has, in the past, taken local businesses and companies to Zimbabwe on benchmarking and collaborative exercises.