Story by Stanley James, Business Editor
ZIMBABWE’S export development agenda has received the backing of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) through engagement of women entrepreneurs in exploring business opportunities.
COMESA ranks Zimbabwe among leading economies with a potential to further increase exports as it currently accounts for over 30 percent of exports in the region annually.
It is, however, the inclusion of women in different sectors of the economy by COMESA on exploring the regional trading bloc that is expected to increase exports.
“The SME’s sector cannot just be left behind but due to the current engagement that is that hope for success, so we are committed to utilize the current opportunities in tapping the regional market,” noted Small to Medium Enterprises Advisory Council Member Mrs. Teverai Chigogo.
Women in Mining member Mrs. Blessing Hungwewighed in saying, “The mining sector is targeting a US$12 billion industry this year while we appreciate what is being done as women in mining we can also play a leading role if fully capacitated to explore the regional market.”
Meanwhile Women in Agriculture Member Mrs. Nomuhle Bangani added, “Agriculture is on a growth path and this path is being also driven by women in farming it is mainly the horticulture produce that can be a game changer in spearheading growth in exports within the COMESA region.”
The regional trading bloc’s thrust on local women in business is to capacitate them to value add their products.
“There is a great opportunity for Zimbabwe to increase the market base as research shows that the country has a comparative advantage in mining and agriculture that can only be achieved by processed goods,” said COMESA Director Gender and Social Affairs Mrs. Beatrice Hamusonde.
In a related development, COMESA is in talks with the Zimbabwean government, the local business community and women entrepreneurs to boost trade.
COMESA is a 21-member regional trading bloc established to promote and increase trade through the removal of trade barriers.