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Zimbabwe and DRC Set to Expand Trade Ties

Zimbabwe and DRC Set to Expand Trade Ties

Trade between Zimbabwe and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is poised for significant growth, offering numerous opportunities for Zimbabwean exporters to supply products and services to the DRC.

Ambassador Albert Chimbindi, Permanent Secretary for Foreign Affairs and International Trade, highlighted this potential at the Zimbabwe-DRC Business Forum. The forum, part of a DRC inward buyer mission organized by ZimTrade, brought together businesses from both countries to explore collaboration opportunities.

The DRC delegation included companies from sectors such as fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG), mining supplies, agriculture, and construction. Zimbabwean companies from food processing, building, mining, and engineering also participated.

The mission aimed to promote Zimbabwean products in the DRC, increase brand awareness, generate market leads, build partnerships, and showcase local goods. Trade between the two countries has been growing, with Zimbabwe exporting coal, machinery, cereals, and cigarettes, while importing cobalt, copper, wood, textiles, and starches from the DRC.

In 2022, Zimbabwe’s exports to the DRC reached US$87 million, up from US$32 million in 2018. DRC exports to Zimbabwe also rose to US$3.5 million in 2022 from US$92,000 in 2020. Products like sweets, yogurt, biscuits, and cooking oil from Zimbabwe are competitive in the DRC market.

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Ambassador Chimbindi emphasized the potential for increasing trade between the two countries, noting the DRC’s reliance on imported processed foods and horticultural products. He encouraged businesses to take advantage of regional trade agreements that allow duty-free and quota-free trading between Zimbabwe and the DRC.

The proximity of Lubumbashi to Zimbabwe facilitates easier and cheaper transportation of goods. Zimbabwean companies can also supply construction materials to the DRC, where the construction sector is booming.

ZimTrade’s Director of Operations, Mr. Similo Nkala, stated that the mission is part of a long-term effort to grow trade with the DRC, starting with participation in the DRC Mining Week in 2018 and subsequent trade missions. He highlighted the expansion of their presence in new DRC provinces, offering more opportunities for collaboration.

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FEC Katanga Vice President, Mr. Lambert Tshisueka, expressed readiness to increase imports from Zimbabwe, noting the DRC’s heavy reliance on imported goods. He mentioned potential collaborations in producing soft drinks and sourcing sugar from Zimbabwe.

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Mr. Piere Kwete of Super Marche MOTA, representing the DRC delegation, identified the booming real estate industry as a major opportunity for supplying construction materials. He emphasized the mutual benefits of sourcing supplies from Zimbabwe.

Previous engagements have already resulted in some DRC farmers visiting Zimbabwe for agricultural events and negotiating seed purchases worth US$250,000. Efforts are also underway to explore beef market opportunities in the DRC.

In conclusion, the expanding trade relationship between Zimbabwe and the DRC presents numerous opportunities for businesses in both countries to collaborate and grow.

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