Panashe Chikonyora Business Reporter
National trade development and promotion agency, Zimtrade is working on an online platform and mobile application that will facilitate trade by ensuring that the country continues to export despite outbreak of Covid-19.
The move is in line with Zimtrade’s mandate to assist local exporters in developing, promoting and facilitating exports of their goods and services to the world.
It is envisaged that the online platform will help grow the country’s exports at a time when business operations and major activities like trade and tourism are at a standstill.
The lockdown, which began on March 30 was implemented as a preventive measure to combat the spread of the virus, and many countries around the world, including South Africa, Zimbabwe’s neighbour have also embraced it.
This has created challenges to the country’s trade sector and economy at large, as it is now difficult for some companies to supply international markets, hence the need for Zimbabwe to embrace the use of online digital platforms in conducting business.
“Our team is working on an integrated online platform and mobile application that will allow buyers from across the world to source from Zimbabwe at a click of a button.
“The target is to house all exporters from all provinces under one roof,” said Zimtrade in a tweet on Friday (April 24, 2020).
Meanwhile, the trade development and promotion agency hopes that regional markets such as Zambia, Botswana and Namibia can cushion the country as they are easy to access despite stringent restrictions on movement across the globe.
“To stay afloat during these difficult times, local companies must have a strong understanding of the regional markets especially upon current measures adopted to stop the spread of the coronavirus as most of these affect trade.
“Understanding these measures means local companies are better equipped to know where to place their products and in some cases, they will have to adjust their export strategies to ensure that they grab some opening markets,” said Zimtrade chief executive Allan Majuru in April 19’s article ‘Regional Markets Provide Soft Landing for Exporters’.
The pandemic has not only affected local but also international trade.
Analysts say the post-lockdown period is likely to have restricted trade as airlines will continue being grounded. There will still be a requirement to maintain social distancing and no airline will be prepared to operate on one third capacity.
Many countries shall continue with borders closed to foreigners, meaning countries with economies heavily dependent on products from other countries will suffer until the lockdowns are lifted 100 percent.
Generally, value chains have been either disrupted or destroyed completely and this is likely to take time to heal the process and business coming back to normal again.
It is against this background that the country’s trade body, Zimtrade, has mulled strategies to facilitate trade with other countries to ensure the economy remains afloat.