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ZIMTRADE is set to carry out market research in African countries such as Angola as it seeks to explore new markets for the local industries, regional manager Similo Nkala has said.

Nkala said ZimTrade was embarking on a mission to look for virgin and lucrative markets in the continent as part of its turnaround strategy.

“As outlined in the ZimTrade turnaround strategy, the organisation has been identifying strategic markets that have great potential for local companies.

This year we are going to do more market researches in Limpopo Province of South Africa, Kenya and in Angola,” said Nkala during a ZimTrade awareness seminar held in Bulawayo.

In 2012 ZimTrade did a market research in South Sudan, Africa’s newest state, where various business opportunities were discovered.

The trade organisation also embarked on the same mission in Mozambique’s Tete province.

“Tete Province in Mozambique is one of the fastest growing towns in southern Africa and its only 390 km from Harare and 833km from Bulawayo.

“The opportunities available in the province include mining and construction equipment, industrial equipment, industrial protective wear, administrative supplies, mobile mechanic equipment, occupational health and safety, electrical equipment and services, among others,” said Nkala.

Currently, local companies are failing to venture into exports due to a number of challenges resulting in a negative trade balance.

Zimbabwe’s exports have increased since 2009 from US$2,2 billion to US$3,5 billion in 2013.

However, the imports have increased at a much faster rate during the same period from US$3,5 billion to US$7,7 billion.

This has resulted in the trade deficit widening significantly from US$1,3 billion to US$4,2 billion, thus weakening the country’s balance of payment and the country’s liquidity conditions.

According to a ZimTrade Export Manufacturing Capacity Survey for 2013, over 70% of local companies that have been exporting in the past 10 years have shut down due to numerous challenges such as hassles in producing for exports and low production.

Companies have indicated that once the government comes up with export supporting or enhancing policies, most of them would be able to increase their levels of exports as the capacity to do so was there.

Nkala urged local companies to increase their competitiveness by adopting new technology.

Source : Zimbabwe Standard