Source: President commends ZimTrade, BITC collaboration | The Herald 29 FEB, 2020
Prosper Ndlovu in MAUN, Botswana
President Mnangagwa has commended increased collaboration between ZimTrade and the Botswana Investment and Trade Centre (BITC), which has unlocked potential opportunities for trade and industrial synergies.
ZimTrade is Zimbabwe’s trade development and promotion agency.
Speaking during a State banquet here organised in his honour by Botswana President Dr Mokgweetsi Eric Masisi on Thursday, President Mnangagwa said the 2nd Session of the Bi-National Commission between Botswana and Zimbabwe had afforded ZimTrade and BITC increased scope to pursue more ways of enhancing trade.
Zimbabwe and Botswana share a common desire for improved economic cooperation for the benefit of their citizens.
“I commend the Botswana Investment and Trade Centre for its ongoing engagements with their Zimbabwe counterparts ZimTrade,” he said.
“I am optimistic that such relations will yield tangible results and increased trade volumes between our two economies, leveraging on our respective resource endowments and comparative advantages.”
Zimbabwe and Botswana have a bilateral trade agreement that was reviewed in 2010, which offers duty-free trade on goods that meet the rules of origin. This means Zimbabwe has a comparative advantage in exporting fresh produce and fast moving consumer goods to Botswana since its manufacturing base is more developed.
There is growing interest by Botswana and Zimbabwean companies in fostering synergies in key sectors such as clothing, leather and technical skills development.
As such, President Mnangagwa said it was pleasing that following the inaugural session of the BNC held in Harare in February last year, a business forum was convened between private sector players from both countries on the sidelines of the 2019 edition of the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF) in Bulawayo.
Similarly, ZimTrade and BITC organised a business conference in Maun on Thursday, which had over 60 private companies from Zimbabwe and Botswana attending.
ZimTrade chief executive officer Mr Allan Majuru said it was important for Zimbabwe to enhance the export competitiveness for its goods to outdo competitors from neighbouring countries.
He said trade with Botswana had not been significant despite being neighbours.
ZimTrade and BITC signed a Memorandum of Understanding in 2018, which has culminated in a number of business-to-business missions happening outside the realms of the BNC Business forum.
Mr Majuru said ZimTrade has, over the years, facilitated manufacturers to participate at the Botswana Global Expo and BITC has reciprocated by attending ZITF.
In that regard, President Mnangagwa said his Government was determined to stay the course towards economic recovery and growth by continuing to improve the macro-economic environment through an accelerated implementation of a raft of economic, political and legislative reforms.
“We are convinced that an economically prosperous, peaceful and united Zimbabwe is good for our people and all our neighbours in SADC and the continent as a whole,” he said.
President Mnangagwa reaffirmed Zimbabwe’s commitment to the African Union’s Agenda 2063 and the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement, which he described as one of the continent’s flagship projects.
Zimbabwe announced its unreserved commitment to be part of AfCFTA during the recent 33rd Ordinary Session of the African Union held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
Zimbabwe further acceded to the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM), as a show of determination to continue to promote peace, democracy, responsive governance, unity and social cohesion through dialogue and the sharing of best practices with counterparts on the continent.