Zim-UK strengthen trade relations

More trade, please! The UK is working to increase trade with Zimbabwe. Last month the British Embassy in Harare took 13 Zimbabwean businesspeople and journalists on another trade mission to the UK. Showcasing some of the fabulous opportunities for UK-Zimbabwe trade in horticulture, transport and processed foods, members of the group travelled to London, Oxford and Birmingham. We speak to David Gate, the UK’s director for trade with Zimbabwe to find out more.

David Gate

Can you tell us more about the companies you took on this UK trade mission?

David Gate: We had a total delegation from Zimbabwe of 13 people. They were from five horticulture firms and there were also officials from Zimtrade and ZBC. Some of the companies are already exporting to the UK. We also made sure that we included new exporters looking for opportunities in the UK. That’s because we’re really keen to increase the volume of trade between Zimbabwe and the UK. Trade benefits both our countries!

You’ve already touched on this, but how did you select the companies?

David Gate: So we worked with companies that had been already assessed by ZimTrade to be “export-ready.” That meant they were actually already exporting to the UK or to the EU and wanted to up their trade volumes. Or it meant that the companies were credible new exporters, looking to break into the UK market and with a real chance of being able to do so. We asked that the companies were of good standing in Zimbabwe’s market. And we were clear that we were particularly keen on Zimbabwean companies working with smallholder farmers and rural communities. ZimTrade recently did a survey on sectors of potential for Zimbabwean exporters to the UK. The results of that showed that the horticulture and processed food sectors were particularly good candidates for more trade. So we were also guided by that in our choices.

The UK is a big place – how did you decide where to take the mission?

David Gate: We made sure delegates got invited to the Speciality & Fine Food Fair and a Trade and Investment Seminar, both in London. Then we took them out to visit the G’s Fresh Farm in Ely near Cambridge and the ADAS Research facility in Chatteris. A few other Zimbabwean companies were already showcasing their art at the Autumn Fair in Birmingham, so that was another stop-off for some of our delegates.

Visit to the G’s Fresh Farm

What are your predictions for the future of UK trade with Zimbabwe?

David Gate: We have been seeing a lot of Zimbabwean businesses making inroads into the UK market. We’re seeing significant exports of fresh produce to the UK and we’ve also seen Zimbabwean businesses like Nyaradzo establishing themselves successfully in the UK where they service a large Zimbabwean diaspora. With the UK-Zimbabwe trade agreement that’s currently in force, we see a lot of potential for increased trade between Zimbabwe and the UK, particularly in sectors such as horticulture and renewable energy. We’ll definitely be building on the momentum from this recent trade mission as we continue to link Zimbabwean and UK businesses.

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