BY MTHANDAZO NYONI
MORE than 30 Zimbabwean companies are set to increase their product visibility and exports to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) when they take part in the ZimTrade-organised outward seller mission to Lubumbashi this month.
Lubumbashi is the third largest city in DRC, located 1 038 kilometres from Harare on the country’s south-eastern border with Zambia, making it ideal for all types of freight. The proximity of Lubumbashi to Zimbabwe makes it easier and cheaper for local businesses to export goods and transport them either by air or road.
For Zimbabwean companies that enjoy the advantage of distance, and regional trade relations, the potential for their products to land on the market with a competitive price is even bigger, says ZimTrade in its latest newsletter.
“Some of the low-hanging fruits in terms of potential products are processed foods, where Zimbabwe can ride on an advanced industry compared to Lubumbashi,” it said.
“As the manufacturing sector in Lubumbashi is not advanced, the city relies on imports from across the world. Local products such as sweets, yoghurt, biscuits, cheese, tinned foods, peanut butter, honey, sugar and cooking oil, soap, washing powder can compete well in Lubumbashi.”
ZimTrade said the horticultural sector also provided huge opportunities for Zimbabwean farmers. Despite Zimbabwe producing some of the top blueberries in Africa and beyond, some retailers in Lubumbashi are importing from elsewhere.
Some horticultural produce in Kinshasa retail markets are imported from as far as Europe, Asia and the Americas, ZimTrade said.
“All horticultural produce, particularly fresh produce and fruits, currently being exported by Zimbabwean farmers have potential to perform well in Lubumbashi.”
In addition, Lubumbashi just like the rest of DRC has been moving towards modernising the agricultural sector and this creates opportunities for Zimbabwean companies to supply appropriate technologies.
The outward seller mission, scheduled to take place from May 18 to 20 will provide a unique opportunity for Zimbabwean companies to engage leading buyers in Lubumbashi, which will unlock access to the lucrative market.
Participating companies will be drawn from sectors such as processed foods, building and construction, mining and engineering services.
Other targeted sectors include agricultural inputs and implements, protective wear, and information and communication technologies and services.
Over the years, ZimTrade has organised several outward seller missions to create seamless business synergies between Zimbabwean companies and buyers from the region and beyond. From these events, participating companies are provided with an opportunity to increase brand awareness, generate new leads, form new partnerships, and showcase products, services and technologies.