Zim-SA trade up 33 percent

Zim-SA trade up 33 percent
President Robert Mugabe (left) and South Africa's president Jacob Zuma making a toast.

President Robert Mugabe (left) and South Africa’s president Jacob Zuma making a toast. File pic

BILATERAL trade between Zimbabwe and South Africa has grown by 33 percent to $3,193 billion in the nine months to September this year, according to data released by the Zimbabwe Statistical Agency (Zimstat).
Zimbabwe imported goods valued at $1,638 billion from its neighbour and exported products worth $1,555 billion in the same period.
This was a significant improvement in trade between the two countries, which recorded a $2,4 billion trade in the same period last year.
Overall, Zimbabwe’s import bill topped $4 billion, while its export receipts were pegged at $2,5 billion resulting in a $1,5 billion trade deficit with the rest of the world.
The latest development comes at a time Zimbabwe and South Africa last month elevated bilateral relations with the signing of five agreements set to benefit both countries.
The agreements, which ranged from sports and recreation to information and communication technologies to energy and environmentwere signed in South Africa during President Robert Mugabe’s state visit to Africa’s second largest economy at the invitation of President Jacob Zuma.
South Africa and Zimbabwe have good bilateral political, economic and social relations underpinned by strong historical ties dating back many years.
The two countries do not only share strong historical relations but also economic cooperation.
There are over 120 South African companies doing business in Zimbabwe in various sectors including mining, aviation, tourism, banking sector, the property sector, the retail sector, construction sector, and the fast food sector and many more.
Zimbabwe is one of South Africa’s top five trading partners on the continent, with trade statistics showing annual growth, although there has been slow implementation of agreements in the past to balance trade between the two southern African countries.
The two southern African countries are also working on implementing their 2009 agreement aimed at cutting the massive delays characteristic with the Beitbridge border post by having a one-stop border post at the busy international gateway, in an effort to ensure sustainable trade.
“I wish to underscore the strategic significance of a one-stop border post at the Beitbridge. This is the busiest border post on the continent. Much of our goods and services go through it. We cannot afford to continue to have unnecessary delays at that border,” Zuma said while addressing the second session of the neighbouring countries’ Bi-National Commission (BNC) in Pretoria.
“It is therefore important and urgent that we start in earnest the process of establishing a one-stop border post. Our two countries took a decision to do so as far back as 2009. In this regard, we direct the relevant ministers and officials to move with speed and report progress at the next BNC to be hosted in Harare next year,” the South African president said.
Economic experts assert that a one-stop-shop at the busiest border post in the African continent will bring harmonised processes and improved infrastructure.
The one-stop border post concept, which has been on the cards for the past eight years, allows travellers from Zimbabwe and South Africa to be cleared just once when travelling to either side of the border.
This is in contrast with the current situation where travellers are cleared on both sides of the border.
The concept also has a positive impact in improving the smooth flow of traffic as well as cutting down on the costs associated with the moving of goods across the border.

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