The recently ended DRC Mining Week at which 10 Zimbabwean companies exhibited under the ZimTrade banner, kickstarted negotiations for nearly $3 million worth of business deals for Zimbabwean mining and mining inputs companies.
The Expo was held in Lubumbashi from June 13 to 15 and companies have returned to Zimbabwe to immediately prepare and ship product samples to large mining corporations in the DRC such as Tenke Fungurume, Ivanhoe Mines Ltd, Kibali Gold Mine and Gecamines.
The DRC market is notorious for being a risky and logistically challenging one to enter, but the exhibiting Zimbabwean companies discovered that it is a market with huge potential that possibly outweighs the risks. In particular, the Katanga province in which Lubumbashi is located, is a peaceful and stable place to do business.
“In spite of its reputation for instability and pandemic diseases especially Ebola, the DRC is attracting a lot of foreign nationals, who can see great business potential in the country. During our visit to Lubumbashi at no time did we feel unsafe, and the Zimbabweans in attendance identified some great business opportunities,” said Mr Renwick Wachenyuka, ZimTrade’s acting export promotion manager.
Apart from the Trade Show, participating companies also toured the Tenge Fungurume Mine which holds one of the world’s largest known copper and cobalt reserves, as well as the Ivanhoe Mine where they established contact with some key personnel in the DRC mining sector.
“Our participation at the Mining Week Expo and visits to DRC’s top mines was quite an eye opener. We were not sure of the market we were going into, but it was quite surprising and impressive to note that the DRC has a lot of potential which we can tap into. Moreover, the Congolese seem to have a soft spot for Zimbabwe and were excited to see a Zimbabwean delegation at the Expo for the first time. We appreciate the support from ZimTrade and the Consulate in Lubumbashi and look forward to doing business there,” said Mr Michael Sullivan, director of Zimbabwe Valves.
In 2016, ZimTrade, conducted a market survey in the DRC and discovered good potential for trade between Zimbabwe and DRC. With a population of approximately 84 million, untapped resources, and prospects for growth in areas such as agriculture; mining; pharmaceuticals; manufacturing; engineering and tourism, DRC proves to be a lucrative market for Zimbabwean businesses.
Zimbabwe and the DRC currently enjoy good political relations.
Furthermore, both countries share common membership in the Southern Africa Development Community (Sadc) and the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa) which ensure favourable trading conditions for companies in both nations.