Zimbabwean companies in the fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) and mining supplies sectors should seize export business opportunities presented by the vast Zambian market, the country’s premier trade promotion body ZimTrade has said.
Presenting Zambia market survey findings in Harare this week, ZimTrade chief executive Allen Majuru implored local firms in the FMCG and mining consumables to grab market opportunities in Zambia.
The market survey explored the aspects and characteristics of the Zambian market and identified opportunities for engagement partnerships, specifically in Lusaka and the Copperbelt areas.
According to statistics from Zimstats, Zimbabwe accounts for less than 5 percent of Zambia’s total import bill, despite the geographical proximity.
In 2018, Zimbabwe exported products worth US$66 million to Zambia against imports of US$177 million leading to a trade deﬁcit of US$111 million. Zambia is among the top 5 export markets for Zimbabwean products.
Zimbabwe’s major exports to its northern neighbour in 2018 were mainly composed of ﬁsh, tea, unmanufactured tobacco, cement, cane sugar, among others.
Majuru said Zimbabwe was favorably situated to benefit from Zambia’s economic growth considering its proximity, instead of letting its neighbour import from distant countries what it can supply.
Majuru said: “ZimTrade has identiﬁed Zambia as one of the markets with potential for Zimbabwean products and services. With a population of 17 million and a GDP per Capita of US$1 552, there is potential for Zimbabwe to grow its exports from the current US$67 million.
“Zimbabwe and Zambia have cordial trade and economic relations and Zimbabwean companies should take advantage of that beneﬁt from the growth of the Zambian economy.”
Presenting findings on the mining sector at the same event, ZimTrade manager (market information) Ms Annie Bake said Zambia’s mining sector was getting its supplies from South Africa and beyond the continent, particularly China, an opportunity Zimbabwe could tap.
“Very limited suppliers manufacture within Zambia, most listed vendors import products from South Africa, China and India while Chinese owned mines procure most supplies from China and Dubai.
“Products with vast potential for Zambian market include capital plant equipment, personal protective equipment (PPE), services, office supplies, mechanical consumables, spares and educational supplies (for mine schools) ,” said Ms Bake.
According to the survey some of the required consumables include electrical equipment, transformers, electric motors, cables, lighting, batteries, ventilation fans and general electrical consumables.
Zimbabwean firms with Zambian market experiences in the FMCG category include Kefalo’s and Associated Food Zimbabwe, which have made strong headways into the country and are now selling in major wholesalers and retail outlets including Shoprite and Pick n Pay.
Other local brands that have made inroads into Zambian market include Mazoe, buttercup Margarine.
Zambia is strategically positioned as a gateway into the central African markets such as the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) Central African Republic and is one of the key markets in SADC for businesses looking to increase brand awareness, generate new ideas and form new partnerships.
In the decade to 2014, Zambia was one of the world’s fastest growing economies with average real GDP growth of around 6,7 percent per annum and GDP per capita of US$1 635, making it lower middle-income economy. This however, slowed down from 2015 to 2017 as a result of falling copper prices, reduced power generation and depreciation of the Zambian kwacha.
Zambia’s economy is primarily driven by mining, mainly copper; accounting for about 6 percent of the world’s known copper reserves. In 2018 alone, mineral exports accounted for over 50 percent of Zambia’s exports and have conventionally been the largest contributor to the country’s total GDP.
According to the World Bank annual ratings, the country ranks 87 out of 190 economies in terms of ease of doing business.