According to latest figures from the Zimbabwe Statistical Office, 43.1% of the goods imported by Zimbabwe were imported from South Africa for the 11 months to November 30 2014.
In total, Zimbabwe imported goods worth $5.8bn.
Analysts say Zimbabwe will remain a net importer of goods for as long as industries are closing down.
Zimbabwe’s manufacturing sector capacity ustilisation in 2014, as surveyed by the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries, fell to an average of 36.3% down from 39.6%, representing a 3.3% slide from the 2013 level.
Some of the challenges facing Zimbabwe’s manufacturing industry include antiquated machinery, cost of doing business, a myriad regulatory requirements, the high cost of borrowing, weak domestic demand, high unemployment, widening trade deficit, weakening of the rand to the US dollar, and unreliable supply of utilities.
Sadly, Zimbabwe still imports some products it should be producing locally.
Notable imports by Zimbabwe include wheat ($80m) and maize ($108m). This is despite reports that the land reform programme the country undertook a decade ago has been successful.
With these challenges far from being over, Zimbabwe’s import bill is likely to remain high.