Cross-border traders urged to invest in Zim

Cross-border traders should invest the money they are exporting to neighbouring countries create employment at home, says Industry and Commerce Deputy Minister, Chiratidzo Iris Mabuwa.

Mabuwa implored the traders, the majority of whom are women, to stop exporting jobs to neighbouring countries, saying the ratio of the money being taken outside the country through cross -border trading is much higher than what is coming in.

Addressing stakeholders at a recent Women in Enterprise Conference and Awards Policy meeting, Mabuwa called on women to take advantage of existing policies that empower them in business.

“Let us not talk about liquidity challenges when as women we are exporting over $8 million monthly through the borders under the guise of cross-border trading. Some of the products we are importing are available in this country. We are exporting our children’s jobs and robbing them of their future,” she said.

The Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries reported that imports from South Africa increased nearly 20 percent to $1.56 billion in the 10 months to October last year, against exports of a paltry $225million.

In October 2012, Zimbabwe imported goods valued at $1.3 billion from neighbouring South Africa as the trade imbalance between the two countries continues to grow.

Presenting his 2014 national budget, finance minister Patrick Chinamasa said imports grew from $6, 1 billion to $6,6 billion as of October, 2013, projecting that the figure could reach $8,3 billion this year.

Mabuwa said the onus was on women to contribute towards reviving the economy.

“Women in business should focus on producing quality products. Locally made goods should be at par with other products that are produced internationally,” she said. The minister urged women to take advantage of existing policy frameworks that promoted gender equality in all spheres of the economy.

“Gone are the days of political campaigning. Women should stand up and claim their space on the economic front,” she said, referring to the provisions under the procurement act, which gives women room to provide goods and services through the public tendering process.

University of Zimbabwe lecturer and Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation Board member, Charity Manyeruke, highlighted the importance of creating smart partnerships among women entrepreneurs and established companies and brands.

“Civil society organisations should change their focus from aid to entrepreneurial support. Women in business should focus on value addition and grow the economy. For women in agriculture, more should be done to promote short season grains and growing non-seasonal agricultural products such as beans, groundnuts and potatoes among others,” she said.

Manyeruke appealed to women who have already made it in the business sector to groom upcoming women entrepreneurs and mentor them to success.

“Women who have made it should embrace those that are still teething in business and give them their advice and expertise on how best they can grow their businesses,” she said.

Divine Ndlukula, WABAZ Women’s Desk Chairperson, urged women to support each other. “As a woman, you should ask yourself: What is it that I am doing to empower and support another woman?” she said.

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