Zim slips in trade competitiveness

HARARE - Zimbabwe is the fourth least trade-friendly country in the world in 2010, according to a report published by the World Economic Forum last week.

The Enabling Trade Index (ETI), which measures the factors, policies and services that facilitate the trade in goods across borders and to destination, ranked Zimbabwe as number 122 out of 125 countries surveyed during the past year. The report shows that Zimbabwe has slipped four places in trade competitiveness since last year when it was ranked 118. The ranking is made up of four sub-indices measuring market access, border administration, transport and communications infrastructure and business environment.

Zimbabwe’s operating environment has worsened since the formation of a coalition government in February last year amid confusion over President Robert Mugabe’s economic policies, including the controversial company ownership laws. Mugabe has clashed with his coalition partners – Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and Deputy Premier Arthur Mutambara – over implementation of the Economic Empowerment and Indigenisation Regulations which seek to force foreign investors to cede at least 51 per cent of their stakes to local blacks.

The regulations have caused jitters in the economy, forcing many businesspeople to tread carefully while awaiting the outcome of consultation to revise the indigenisation rules. Singapore topped the ETI list, followed by Hong Kong, Denmark, Sweden and Switzerland.

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