Zim entrepreneurs urged to look to Angola

Zimbabwean businesses should take advantage of intra-African trade partnerships to boost the performance of their companies and the country’s economy, says the former Reserve Bank governor, Kombo Moyana.

Former RBZ governor, Kombo Moyana
Former RBZ governor, Kombo Moyana

Speaking at a breakfast meeting organised by the Zimbabwe Angola Business Association (ZABA) in Harare, Moyana said there were plenty of opportunities for Zimbabwean entrepreneurs in Angola and the two countries had the potential to capitalise on each other’s strengths to improve citizens’ lives.

Said Moyana: “The challenge in Zimbabwe is that the majority of its citizens are technically educated. If we can only learn the Angolan language, there are a lot of areas where we can capitalise on the country’s vibrant economy because they need the skills that Zimbabweans possess.”

Moyana said that while Zimbabwe and Angola had a long history of trade partnerships, it was important for young entrepreneurs to think outside the box and invest in other African countries as a way of growing their businesses.

“We need to go beyond the borders and capitalise on trade investment opportunities that exist in the continent,” said Moyana.

Zimbabwe is part of the Southern African Development Community protocol on Trade, a pact signed and adopted by SADC member states in 1996 and implemented in 2000. It facilitates the free movement of goods and services across the region. The country is also a member of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa.

According to ZimTrade, Zimbabwe experienced a trade surplus with COMESA between 2002 and 2005. The country also has five preferential bilateral trade agreements with Botswana, Namibia, Malawi, South Africa and Mozambique aimed at encouraging and stimulating trade between Zimbabwe and the cooperating partners through the elimination of tariffs and other barriers to trade.

The agreements provides for Zimbabwean importers to buy goods from signatory countries without paying import duty or by paying a small agreed duty as long as the goods in question qualify under the terms of the agreement and are registered as such.

Said Paul Mangwana, the head of the five-member delegation of the ZABA that travelled to Angola last week: “Zimbabwean business was assured of preferential treatment in the event that they indicated their interest in engaging in any form of business in Angola. Doing business in Angola is not about having money. It is about trading our skills.”

Mangwana said that with the current high unemployment rate in the country, there was need for businesses to organise themselves and provide labour in the country.

“Angola has the money and we have the skills. Why not trade the two?” said Mangwana, revealing that the country had indicated its willingness to partner Zimbabwean businesses across all sectors.

“There are a lot of unemployed teachers in Zimbabwe, yet Angola needs a lot of teachers. The challenge could be the language barrier but I know it is a hurdle that can be overcome,” he said.

The minister of state for Harare Metropolitan Province, Miriam Chikukwa, called on Zimbabweans to set aside their political differences and work together for the development of the country.

“Shelve politics for later and we should work together for the benefit of the majority,” said Chikukwa. “What the people want is clean water, service delivery, good health and peace. For us to achieve this, we should work together.”

ZABA was formed in 2013 to promote an economic link between Zimbabwe and Angola. The aim of the organisation is to create synergies and partnerships between businesses from the two countries and co-ordinate market research, trade opportunities and shows to boost trade.

Ravaged by 27 years of civil war since the country attained independence from Portugal in 1975, Angola is one of Africa’s major oil producers.

However, the country’s majority, as in Zimbabwe, languish in abject poverty. Reports show most people still live on less than a $1 a day, although the country is experiencing a post-war reconstruction boom.

Post published in: Business
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