HARARE – Trade promotional body, Zimtrade says it is in the process of finalising a Memorandum of Understanding with Agro-Marketing Trade Authority of Namibia (AMTA) that will result in improvement of trade in horticulture produce between the two countries.
This came out during the Zimtrade 2019 Market Survey on Malawi, Namibia and Angola dissemination seminar.
As of 2018, Namibia had an import bill of US$8.2 billion and a GDP of US$14.5 billion with a population of 2.4 million people, making it an upper-middle-income country with vast opportunities for Zimbabwean exporters to do business with companies in that country.
“We have an understanding that we need to operationalise the horticulture agreements between our two principals by coming up with a proactive approach to ensure the agreements come to reality,” said Zimtrade chief executive officer Allan Majuru.
“AMTA has already shared with us the windows and offtakes of selected products which we have already begun sharing with players in the Horticulture sector.”
Zimbabwe and Namibia signed a Bilateral Trade Agreement in August 1992 which provides for exclusion of customs duty on goods with a 25% local content.
In 2009 there was an amendment to the Agreement to address issues that mainly relate to rules of origin. Zimbabwe’s exports to Namibia have remained depressed due to capacity challenges faced by the manufacturing sector in Zimbabwe, despite the high demand for Zimbabwean products in Namibia.
Foreign Affairs and International Trade Deputy Minister David Musabayana said the trade balance between the two countries has been in favor of Namibia. But, within the framework of cooperation of the Joint Permanent Commission, the two countries agreed to facilitate the export of Zimbabwe agricultural produce to Namibia – largely fruits and vegetables.
“This is a welcome development as it provides for the practical implementation of the mutual agreement to facilitate bilateral trade in agricultural commodities,” he said.
A decade ago, Namibia, through the Namibian Ports Authority (NAMPORT) offered Zimbabwe land to lease for the development of a dry port facility at the Walvis Bay. Zimbabwe accepted the offer and in December 2009, the country signed the Lease Agreement on the development of the Dry Port.
Construction started in 2015 and officially opened in July 2019. The dry port will be used as a gateway for the storage and handling of all cargo to and from Zimbabwe.
Of the market survey, these three countries present to exporters a market of 50.8 million people and a GDP of $126.6 billion. Their combined total import value in 2018 stands at US$27.4 billion. Major import products are wide in range, however, Zimbabwe only exported US$35.3 million to the 3 countries in 2018 (Namibia-US$7.7mil; Malawi-US$26.8mil; Angola-US$0.8mil) representing 0.1% of the total import value of the 3 countries. Due to low level of trade between Zimbabwe and these countries, Zimtrade carried out surveys to assist identify opportunities where Zimbabwean exporters and would-be exporters can tap in and increase the levels of trade.