Businesses to capitalise on re-engagement

Prosper Ndlovu recently in Gaborone, Botswana
ZIMBABWEAN businesses should ride on comparative advantage and capitalise on the renewed international relations under President Mnangagwa’s dispensation to boost production and exports.

Zimbabwe’s Ambassador to Botswana, Batiraishe Henry Mukonoweshuro, said this in an interview in Gaborone recently where he held brief engagements with local companies that participated at the recent Botswana Global Expo, the neighbouring country’s prime trade showcase. A total of 15 Zimbabwean companies participated.

“We should capitalise on the highly developed relations between Zimbabwe and Botswana and the region, which should cascade to economic level. It is, therefore, necessary for our businesses to showcase their products on such platforms and penetrate this wider market,” he said.

“We can’t continue to have the issue of trade deficit working against us. So, we need to produce more and create a wider market space. The more we export the better.

“The best is to look at our comparative advantages – expertise or human capital, raw materials and so on, and ride on these. We need to look at where do we benefit more from each other and how do we bring in factories for beneficiation? It should be a win-win situation.”

For instance, he noted that Botswana was a net importer of foodstuffs and also has growing construction projects, which presents export opportunity for Zimbabwean companies. The country also has more advantage, especially Bulawayo companies, on the basis of proximity to Botswana. Amb Mukonoweshuro said mutually beneficial investment deals were ideal in transforming the country’s economy while promoting regional integration. This is against the idea of having certain countries being reduced to dumping ground for foreign products.

“This way you create new investments, set up factories and create more jobs,” he said.

As such, the Ambassador said the bilateral relations between Botswana and Zimbabwe, in particular, have matured positively since President Mnangagwa assumed leadership of the country in 2017.

He alluded to the desire by the two heads of States, Presidents Mnangagwa and Masisi, to forge partnerships mainly on the economic front. This was expressed in March this year, when the two countries held a Bi-National Commission Summit in Harare and signed a P1 billion facility that will be channelled towards Zimbabwe’s private sector.

During the meeting Zimbabwe and Botswana also signed six Memoranda of Understanding spanning political, social and economic fields that will bring the two countries closer.

The MoUs included the Extradition Treaty, Diplomatic Consultations, Rules and Procedures Governing the Meetings of the Bi-National Commission, Mining, Geology and Metallurgy, Cooperation in the Energy Sector and Science and Technology.

“The BNC is the one that opens doors for such opportunities and the economic activity testifies to the effectiveness of such resolutions. We are happy that our businesses are seeing this and they came here to participate,” said Amb Mukonoweshuro.

He commended ZimTrade, the country’s trade promotion agency, for facilitating the participation of the 15 companies, 10 from Bulawayo, which were drawn from different economic sectors.

Representatives of the participating companies also said the expo had exposed them to a huge export potential and the need to seal synergies with regional counterparts.

Some of the exhibitors recorded huge sales on their stands while others struck partnership deals with Botswana players.

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