BY SHAME MAKOSHORI
ZIMTRADE, the country’s exports promotion agency, says clothing and textile manufacturers were inching closer to a dramatic rebound this year, as it unlocks fresh opportunities in five African markets following decades of protracted carnage highlighted by plummeting output and loss of jobs.
The agency said last week it was scouring for fresh opportunities in Botswana, Zambia, Malawi, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Mozambique, giving impetus to a recovery registered during the first half of 2021, when sector exports firmed by 76,62%.
Shipments from the industry earned Zimbabwe US$20 million between January and May this year, compared to US$11,3 million during the same period last year, ZimTrade said in the July edition of Trading Post, a foreign trade journal.
Under an aggressive Sadc campaign to improve trade with regional economies, crucial deals had been inked around the exportation of suits, trousers, children’s wear and other products, ZimTrade said.
“Although the main export contributors are minerals and alloys and unmanufactured tobacco, there are some sectors that have made significant growth,” the Trading Post said.
“For example, clothing, footwear and textiles exports increased by 76,62% to US$19,95 million between January-May 2021 from US$11,3 million during the same period in 2020. Major exported products in the sector were cotton not carded or combed (US$10,6) million and men’s or boys’ suits, ensembles, jackets, blazers, trousers worth US$2,8 million,” the journal said.
It said the rebound followed an invitation to key buyers from Zambia to meet Zimbabwean manufacturers.
“ZimTrade has also been facilitating improved engagements between local clothing manufacturers with buyers in regional markets, such as Botswana, Zambia, Malawi, Democratic Republic of Congo and Mozambique. Already, buyers in these markets have noted that Zimbabwean clothing and textile products are of high quality, and strong, which is expected to sustain export growth if local manufacturers get it right on the pricing,” the Trading Post added.
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) data indicated last week that the country’s external sector position had remained strong since 2019. A strong external sector position is supportive of exchange rate stability, which helps the central bank’s disinflation strategy.
The RBZ said Zimbabwe’s strengthening external position had also been bolstered by global recovery, which has unlocked opportunities for commodities exports.
“Reflecting the strong external sector performance, foreign currency receipts amounted to US$4,02 billion in the first half of the year, compared to US$3,12 billion received over the same period in 2020, representing a 29,1% increase in foreign currency supply,” RBZ governor John Mangudya said in the midterm monetary policy statement released on Thursday last week.
“Reflecting this positive global and domestic economic outlook, merchandise exports are expected to maintain strong growth. The projected export performance is reflective of the export shipments for the first half of the year. Precisely, cumulative export receipts as at 30 June 2021 were US$2,31 billion compared to US$1,91 billion received during the same period in 2020. This represents an increase of 20,8% in 2021,” Mangudya noted.