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‘Zim vulnerable to external shocks’

‘Zim vulnerable to external shocks’

ZIMBABWE’S exports are concentrated in a few tariff lines and markets, making them highly vulnerable to external shocks, a report by the Competition and Tariff Commission (CTC) shows. In its latest report, CTC urged Zimbabwe to diversify its products and markets to minimise external shocks.

“Exportation of unprocessed commodities, such as minerals and agricultural produce, is worsening trade balance in Zimbabwe,” the report reads in part.

“There is a need for continued import substitution policies, increasing exports of value-added and manufactured products, SMEs [small-to-medium enterprises] development to explore new markets for Zimbabwe to attain a positive trade balance in Africa, as well as in its regional economic communities.”

The report noted that Zimbabwe has liberalised 84% of its tariff lines in the Southern African Development Community (Sadc), and 100% in the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa).

“Zimbabwe imports more than it exports to the rest of the world with a trade deficit for the five years under observation, which has slightly declined by 27% comparing 2018 and 2022,” it said.

“Cereal (rice, wheat, maize) imports from the world contributed 4,7% of Zimbabwe’s imports between the 2018 and 2022 period, fertilizers (4,95%), with mineral fuels (petroleum oils and electrical energy) consisting of the largest portion of 22,8%.

“During the same period, commodities, such as tobacco and diamonds, hugely contributed to Zimbabwe’s exports.”

The report said Zimbabwe was importing more than exporting in Comesa. Recently, there has been an increase in imports from Comesa, with the trade deficit reaching over US$604 million in 2022.

Fertilizer, cereals, and cement contributed over 33% of Zimbabwe’s imports from Comesa during the period under review.

Between 2018 and 2022, the report notes that Zimbabwe imported agricultural inputs, largely fertilisers and oilcake, to support crop yields and livestock production given Zimbabwe’s reliance on agriculture.

The country is also importing essential food products, such as cereals (maize), oilseeds and vegetable oils. Other important imports include machinery and cement for construction purposes.

“Zimbabwe has vast tracts of arable land to substitute some of these imports as reliance on some of these essential imported goods impacts the country’s self-sufficiency in crisis

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