SIX Dutch companies are angling for Zimbabwe’s agricultural sector as trade relations between the two countries continue to grow, The Netherlands Ambassador to Zimbabwe Ms Gera Sneller has said.
Statistics availed by the Dutch Embassy show that Zimbabwe’s exports to The Netherlands rose 36,6 percent to 35,2 million euros (US$39,7 million using the 1:1,13 exchange rate to the greenback) in 2015.
On the overall, the country shipped goods worth 125 million euros (US$141 million) to the European country between 2012 and 2015.
The major exports are mainly roses, fruits, wine, tea, cane, fish fillets, tobacco as well as iron and steel articles.
The Netherlands’ GDP stands at US$880 billion and it is ranked 28 out of 189 countries on the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Index. Ambassador Sneller said recently there was renewed interest from Dutch companies seeking investment opportunities in Zimbabwe.
“We are now working directly with six companies that we have identified after we held two seminars in The Netherlands and another in Cape Town.
“Out of these seminars, we have six companies that we are working with one-on-one now to help them find partners here in Zimbabwe. Once the contracts are signed and they are here, we will be able to reveal more on that,” said Ambassador Sneller on the sidelines of the signing ceremony of a memorandum of understanding between ZimTrade and PUM of Holland in Harare.
The Dutch companies are interested in agriculture, especially horticulture; tourism; financial services; mining and machinery.
Traditionally, Dutch investors favoured neighbouring Zambia, Ambassador Sneller said.
“I do see a growing interest in Zimbabwe. I was at an ambassadors’ conference two weeks ago and we always have a day with Dutch private sector and this is the third conference I have attended.
“In the first two years, the companies have always wanted to talk about Zambia, but this year all the companies that came to see me wanted to talk about Zimbabwe.”
Ambassador Sneller said Government had to expeditiously implement reforms to improve the business environment and attract more investment. Last year, Government launched a programme designed to reform the investment climate and it is being co-ordinated by the Office of the President and Cabinet.
The reforms, which focus on improving the business environment for local entrepreneurs as well as laying foundations to attract sustainable and mutually beneficial FDI, are expected to enhance Zimbabwe’s competitiveness, create jobs, generate revenue and support growth. ZimTrade chief executive Ms Sithembile Pilime said relations between Zimbabwe and The Netherlands were fast improving.