Zim-UK trade shoots up 76 percent

Source: The Herald – Breaking news.

Zim-UK trade shoots up 76 percent 
Mr Peter Vowles

Blessings Chidakwa Herald Reporter

Over the last 12 months trade between Zimbabwe and the United Kingdom shot up by 76 percent, as the Second Republic continues to make international headway, riding on its engagement and re-engagement policy anchored on economic diplomacy.

This comes as once frosty relations between Zimbabwe and the UK have thawed significantly, owing to President Mnangagwa’s engagement and re-engagement drive.

It also comes as the British government has expressed keen interest in the normalisation of relations with Zimbabwe so that the two countries can relate more through exploring trade and investment opportunities for the mutual benefit of their people.

Speaking after paying a courtesy call to Vice President Kembo Mohadi at his Munhumutapa Offices in Harare yesterday, UK Ambassador to Zimbabwe Mr Peter Vowles said they will continue to work on improving trade relations, particularly exports to the Western nation.

“The UK is proud that we have increased our trade, the UK/Zimbabwe trade over the last 12 months, it increased by 76 percent. We want to see that increase improve over the coming year,” he said.

“We want to see (improvements) across a range of sectors, but particularly in renewables, particularly in supporting Zimbabwe and exports to the UK, which raises foreign currency and creates jobs in Zimbabwe, but also bringing the best of British expertise into Zimbabwe to invest in Zimbabwe too.”

Trade cooperation in goods and services between Harare and London has been on the rise, registering about US$185 million last year compared to 2022.

Statistics also show a jump in foreign direct investment from the UK while exports have also been rising.

Zimbabwe’s top five exports to the UK included beverages and tobacco, vegetables and fruit, jewellery, coffee, tea and cocoa and works of art.

From the UK, Zimbabwe imported specialised machinery, telecommunications and sound equipment, among others.

Mr Vowles said they also discussed a range of other issues, including the El-Nino-induced drought that affected Zimbabwe and the region at large.

“We talked about the UK-Zimbabwe relationship and the future. We talked about our trading relationship and reflections on the ZITF (Zimbabwe International Trade Fair) and we talked about our UK-Zimbabwe collaboration on social sectors including response to the drought,” he said.

Relations between Zimbabwe and Britain were tense at the turn of the millennium when the former embarked on the deracialisation of land ownership through a historic land reform programme that empowered several Zimbabweans, much to the chagrin of the British, who imposed economic sanctions on Harare.

The British ambassador is on record emphasising the importance of trade and investment partnerships to maximise existing interactions to improve economic relations.

“There are a range of issues, but also in the future trade arrangements, we want to continue to maximise particularly so that Zimbabwe has access to British markets, duty-free and quota-free and that is important to improve trade and economic relations.

“We continue to be a significant development partner and we want to focus on trade and investment so that we continue to connect the two peoples,” he said.

Owing to President Mnangagwa’s engagement and re-engagement drive, the European Union has removed most of its illegal sanctions against Zimbabwe, and next year the country is expected to host the Nordic-Africa Summit, in a latest vote of confidence in the country’s leadership.