President Emmerson Mnangagwa has called for concerted efforts in boosting the country’s exports which have remained subdued for years, owing to many factors affecting the Zimbabwean economy.
Officially opening the ZimTrade Annual Exporters Conference, being held in Bulawayo for the first time, on Thursday, President Mnangagwa said the country’s inability to overcome the hurdles of inadequate export earnings was affecting other sectors of the economy.
The indaba is running under the theme: “Rethink. Reform. Export!”
“Thus there is an urgent need for both the public and private sectors to synergise our efforts and collectively take appropriate steps to boost our exports, which is the most sustainable way to stabilise and grow our economy,” said President Mnangagwa.
He said in line with his mantra: “Zimbabwe is open for business,” there was a need for stakeholders to work together in creating an enabling environment for strategic trade and investment.
“The effects of the ongoing climate change coupled with the continued illegal sanctions, hamper market access, access to credit finance and processing of international payments,” said President Mnangagwa.
“Our current position, therefore, calls for robust, innovative, collaborative strategies and efforts to build productive capacity and generate value-added exports. The need for increased diversified exports of value-added goods and services as opposed to the present reliance on the exportation of primary commodities is now urgent and imperative.”
The President said his government expected all sectors of the economy to draw lessons from the mining sector and begin to set targets and milestones to pursue, with a view to increasing the country’s exports.
“I challenge all producers to fully exploit the increased impetus towards regional integration as well as the opportunities that arise from the operationalisation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (ACFTA). Exporters must also leverage on our engagement and re-engagement policy to explore and reignite markets in all parts of the world, such as China, Russia, Europe and Britain among others.”
He said there was need for Zimbabweans to constantly engage one another in ensuring that rapid results are realised in the exports market.
“We must work with the unity of purpose to facilitate trade and investment as well as ensure trade policy predictability and sustainability,” said the President.
“To realise sustainable export growth, we can no longer afford to work at a slow pace; everyone has to move with speed in their areas of responsibility. As government, we shall continue to play our part; industry and commerce must also play theirs.”
Meanwhile, President Mnangagwa launched the Zimbabwe National Trade Policy Vision and Export Development Strategy at the indaba.