Zimbabwe Must Focus on COMESA for Exports: Competition Commission says

Zimbabwe Must Focus on COMESA for Exports: Competition Commission says
Image Credit: Kenya High Commission

Competition Tariffs and Commission (CTC) has said that Zimbabwe should focus on the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) region.  This was due to Zimbabwe’s top ten export basket products composing of value-added products unlike Southern African Development Community (SADC) which has unprocessed products.

About 3% of Zimbabwe’s exports value in 2016 went to COMESA according to the trade advisory authority.

“Zimbabwe’s trade with COMESA countries, though small compared to SADC has more trade potential to realise in this region,” CTC says.

“It is attention-grabbing since there are value added products being exported which makes it easier for Zimbabwe to diversify its export basket as a country and realise trade competitiveness.”

Zimbabwe export basket has been in exports of processed products and natural resources according to the competition commission.

“In the COMESA region, it is noted that the country can expand its trade into fibreboard production for construction, sugar, machinery for making tobacco,” the commission says.

“It can also increase production of processed fish, insulated cables, ferroalloys and malt.”

COMESA was formed in 1994 with the main focus of a large economic and trading unit that is capable of overcoming some of the barriers that are faced by individual states.

Besides 3% to COMESA, 93% of Zimbabwe’s exports went to SADC and 4% to the rest of the world in 2017.

Zimbabwe is the second most significant exporter into SADC contributing 8% share after South Africa which supplies 69% of the exports in the development region.

“Though South Africa has been dominated in intra-SADC exports, Zimbabwe exports receipts for commodities such as unmanufactured tobacco, platinum, gold and nickels have been highly dependent on South Africa because of its proximity,” CTC says.

“The fact that South Africa is a large exporters to SADC, but a minor importer may also suggest low complementarity between South Africa and the rest of the region.”

“Zimbabwe has lost its exports markets share over the years within SADC region from 10.7% in 2013 to 8% in 2017.”

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