South Africa’s Trade and Industry deputy minister Elizabeth Thabethe, who is leading a trade delegation at the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair in Bulawayo, said it is critical for intra-Africa trade in the wake of global economic challenges. South Africa is Zimbabwe’s major trading partner
“Zimbabwe is well endowed with mineral resources, including strategic minerals such as platinum. This illustrates the economic potential that the country has and makes it a leading and key strategic partner amongst the members of Sadc,” said Thabethe.
Zimbabwe’s Industrial Development Policy and the National Trade Policy (2012-2016), launched by Zimbabwe this month, hopes to revive the sector, among other objectives.
“We compliment Zimbabwe on the recently launched industry policy in Zimbabwe as the framework that will guide the economic growth in this country,” Thabete said.
She pointed out that since 2003, South African companies had undertaken 12 investment projects in Zimbabwe totalling R10,87 billion, creating more than 2 000 jobs in the metals, minerals, tourism and financial services sectors.
On the other hand, foreign direct investment into Africa, which peaked in 2008 and was driven by the resources boom, has since 2009 been on the downward.
“It is these global economic challenges in our midst that bring intra-Africa trade to primacy,” she said.
To strengthen economic ties, South Africa has lined up a series of finding missions to the “key regions, provinces and cities in Zimbabwe to promote proudly South African products and technology.”
This year’s trade fair is being held under the theme, Investing Locally, Reaping Globally.
The NTP is expected to result in the increase of exports and promote the diversification of the country’s export basket by harnessing comparative advantages in key priority sectors. The policy targets increasing export earnings by 10% annually from $2.5 billion in 2010 to $4.5 billion in 2016.