Zimbabwe’s export concentration on a few products has contributed negatively to the Zimbabwe’s economy as the trade deficit remains high. The country’s exports have been concentrated at tobacco in agriculture and also on minerals like diamonds, gold, platinum, chrome and nickel in the mining sector.
Tobacco which has been the main contributor to exports between 2012 and 2016 falls under ‘winners in global declining sectors’ according to the National Export Strategy (NES) Draft which is currently under validation in Harare and Bulawayo.
“Tobacco has been the main driver for export growth during the period 2012-2016 while recent global financial and economic crisis depressed international commodity prices for Zimbabwe’s major minerals exports (diamonds, gold, platinum, chrome and nickel),” states the report.
The golden leaf is under international restrictions due to health purposes as it is blamed for 7 million deaths per year as it causes respiratory diseases.
Despite the problem of concentrating on a few products for exports, the country still has a number of products and services in which it has not exhausted its potential; hence it can increase exports to such destination markets according to the draft.
Speaking during the NES validation workshop in Harare, Professor Makochekanwa said that the country had not yet tapped the African market as a possible export market.
“As a country we have potential in a number of products,” Makochekanwa said.
Topping the list of export potential is diamonds, followed by cotton, and then chromium among others. Zimbabwe’s trade deficit has widened in the past to US$3,3 billion in 2015.
The country however, witnessed the trade deficit narrowing to US$2,8 billion with the government applauding the command agriculture and the Statutory Instrument 64 which ensured the ban of other products into the country.