Story by Stanley James, Business Editor
DIVERSIFICATION and value addition are the main areas of focus for Zimbabwe as it looks at tapping into the African Continental Free Trade Area, whose market boosts of more than 1,3 billion people.
Trade experts and development banks from the AfCFTA region this Monday held discussions in Harare on the implementation of the regional market concept, which was launched a few years ago.
The need to diversify the export basket and value edition of local products dominated the discussions, as Zimbabwe seeks to increase trade in the US$3,4 trillion market.
Trade Facilitation Consultant Mr Joseph Musariri noted, ‘‘Absolutely there are some limitations being faced by the industry in accessing the market with the key question being centred on what needs to be done. The answer is simple and it is all about the value addition of the exports.’’
Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries Chief Economist Dr Cornelius Dube said, ‘‘The commitment to export and import in the region is there but of concern is the limitations on awareness to such an extent that government and the private sector should improve awareness campaigns that enable industry and commerce to fully understand the market and its implications on the economy.’’
To authorities, Zimbabwe stands to benefit from the AfCFTA once fully operational.
Coordinator African Trade Policy Centre Regional Integration and Trade Division Mr Melaku Geboye Desta noted, ‘‘The focus is on how to increase trade, what can be done to enhance trade, removal of barriers to trade, harmonisation of trade systems among member states a clear testimony of how Zimbabwe can fully benefit from the entire trade facilitation system.’’
The AfCFTA seeks to create new opportunities for trade and remove trade barriers, investment, production, supply chains, and markets through improved infrastructure and connectivity for all African economies.