The 2011 import figure of US$7,56 billion and export total of US$4,47 billion are both shamefully small for a country of 13 million people.
Many people elsewhere can write up a cheque for those amounts and still remain billionaires many times over.
Analysing the import figures, as attributed to the RBZ, gives an obvious clue on the solution to the mounting trade deficit. In 2011 we imported US$59 million worth of electricity, spent US$1,571 billion on fuel imports and US$513 million on food imports.
These three categories of imports, totalling a staggerring US$2,143 billion, are unnecessary. We boast of coal reserves, hydro-power, land as well as a conducive climate; the resources we need to generate our own electricity, manufacture our own fuel and grow our own food.
In fact the challenge should be to export the equivalent amount of these three categories to the Sadc region and beyond.
Should this be accomplished, then the deficit will change to a surplus, easing liquidity, and allowing the government more borrowing space for further job-creating infrastructure development and more investment into a Sovereign Wealth Fund.
The solution therefore is not banning the importation of cheap Japanese cars, as most economists are quick to conclude, but harnessing our own resources and foreign direct investment to expand the economy.