Zimbabwe is set to host a high-level virtual international trade indaba next Tuesday to unpack the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Agreement and how local businesses can benefit from it.
In line with the Covid-19 mitigation health protocols and limits on physical gatherings, the event will be coordinated virtually with participation from the wider southern African region.
The forum is being organised by the International Trade Centre and the Zimbabwean chapter of the Organisation of Women in International Trade.
These would engage the country’s trade development and promotion agency, ZimTrade, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade and other stakeholders to discuss how small and medium-sized businesses can take advantage of the AfCFTA.
ZimTrade chief executive officer, Mr Allan Majuru, confirmed the programme and said the platform was highly significant for Zimbabwe, coming at a time when the country was forging ahead with revitalising its productive sectors and driving at increased exports.
“There are vast opportunities in African markets, which will boost the country’s exports, riding on the high quality of Zimbabwean products and services,” said Mr Majuru. “We have no doubt that with the right support, Zimbabwean companies will perform well across all markets in the continent.”
He said the country’s engagement with ITC and other stakeholders, was expected to focus the narrative around intra-Africa trade opportunities as well as tackling solutions to challenges faced by Zimbabwean companies.
“For Zimbabwean exporters, especially small businesses, to fully take advantage of the opportunities in other African markets, they need to improve their competitiveness,” said Mr Majuru.
“We are confident that our engagement with the International Trade Centre and other stakeholders will go a long way in improving the competitiveness of our local companies,” he said.
Zimbabwe has already ratified the AfCFTA, which was operationalised in January this year, and is expected to transform the region’s economy through increased trade at reduced costs.
Hopes are high that the AFCFTA would boost small scale businesses through widening of the market and reducing costs associated with importation of key raw materials and exporting requirements.