Zim eyes DRC market

ZIMTRADE is exploring the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to find investment opportunities for local companies.

The trade promotion body’s staff is currently conducting a market survey in Lubumbashi, DRC, to identify trade and investment opportunities for Zimbabwean products and services.

The survey will also provide Zimbabwean companies with verified information on potential business counterparts, to assess the feasibility of introducing an Onion Pool System. Through this system, growers will utilise warehouses for grading, sorting and storage of onions.

The harvest will be subsequently sold during the off-distribution channels, payment systems and customs procedures amongst others.

The Joseph Kabila-led southern African country has vast resources, with 80 million hectares of arable land and over 1 100 identified minerals and precious stones.

The country has the potential to become one of the largest economies on the African continent and a driver of African growth.

Information at hand shows that the war-ravished country has experienced a recent economic resurgence, with GDP growth reaching 7,2 percent in 2012 and 8,2 percent in 2013.

However, although growth is recognised as one of the main determinants of poverty reduction globally, not all economic growth is broad-based and inclusive.

In DRC, the poor have largely been excluded from the benefits of economic growth, and most of the population continues to live in poverty, with the national poverty rate estimated at 71 percent.

According to Trade Map, in 2015, the import bill of the DRC was $4,9 billion, with only $3,7 million (0,08 percent) coming from Zimbabwe.

The economy is anticipated to continue growing at an estimated rate of 8 percent, owing to increased investment and growth mainly in the extractive industries.

“This presents potential for Zimbabwe to increase its export market share,” Zimtrade said.

Other market watchers also noted that the exploration of DRC enables the objective of strengthening the bilateral relations, both economic and political relations between Zimbabwe and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Lubumbashi, the second largest city in the DRC, serves as a key commercial and national industrial centre, as well as the mining capital of the DRC.

Economic analysts say the proximity of Lubumbashi to Zimbabwe, makes it easier and cheaper for local businesses to export goods and transport them either via air or road.

Zimtrade noted that the survey findings will be disseminated to relevant stakeholders through seminars that will be held in Harare and Bulawayo.

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