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The European Union has been a big development partner for Zimbabwe.

THE Zimbabwe-European Business Information Centre (Zim-EBIC) will be inaugurated in Harare on August 1 2014 jointly by the Minister of Industry and Commerce, Mike Bimha, and the Head of the European Union Delegation in Zimbabwe, Ambassador Aldo Dell’Ariccia.

This follows the successful launch of the euro3 million facility in February by the European Union to support the Trade and Private Sector Development Programme (TPSDP) in Zimbabwe. Ms Pilime commended the EU for the noble initiative to prop up trade between Zimbabwe and the EU, particularly given the current subdued economic scenario.

Zim-EBIC will be housed within ZimTrade, forming an integral part of the Trade Information Centre. The facility aims at increasing the capacity of Zimbabwean exporters to the EU (existing and potential) to establish mutually beneficial linkages with their European counterparts.

The facility is part of a bigger project on capacity building ZimTrade through upgrading the Trade Information Centre, redesigning the ZimTrade website, training ZimTrade staff and reviewing the Export Marketing Training Programme that imparts relevant skills, particularly to emerging SME exporters.

The Zim-EBIC platform will enhance knowledge sharing on thematic areas such as: EU Market Intelligence EU Business Cultures (communication) EU Trade Fairs ESA-EU interim Economic Partnership Agreement (ESA-iEPA) GSP Tariffs NTBs Standards Quality Management and opportunistic use of Experts from EU Member States as well as experienced Zimbabwean entrepreneurs (peer-to-peer coaching).

ZimTrade Chief Executive Officer, Sithembile Priscilla Pilime, expressed her excitement ahead of the Zim-EBIC inauguration. “We are excited that the Zim-EBIC is finally coming to fruition. This is indeed a landmark achievement, which will boost mutually beneficial trade between Zimbabwe and the EU”, she said.

The involvement of the International Trade Centre (ITC) Geneva, as the Implementing Agency, is encouraging given the experience and expertise they have in the field of trade development.

“ZimTrade will leverage on this ITC knowledge resource to build internal capacity to better service our clients and to ensure sustainability beyond the project tenure”, added Pilime.

EU Member States Ambassadors within Zimbabwe, Business Members Organisation as well as Captains of Industry, are expected to grace this occasion. ITC Executive Director, Ms. Arancha Gonzaacutelez is going to be part of the Delegation, demonstrating the significance of this initiative.

ZimTrade is optimistic that Zim-EBIC will lead to the transformation of its Trade Information Centre. The initiative is expected to reposition and strengthen ZimTrade’s role as the national trade development and export promotion entity that provides a high quality, client needs-driven trade information to the Zimbabwean export sector, among other services. This will, therefore, contribute towards attainment of objectives set out in the ZimTrade Turnaround Strategy (2012-2017), which is currently under implementation.

Source : Financial Gazette