By Walter Muchinguri–ZAMBIA has regained its position as Zimbabwe’s leading export destination in the region during the first six months of the year.
According to the 2009 Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries survey, Zambia accounted for 31 percent of the manufacturing industry’s exports during the period under review.
Zambia was Zimbabwe’s leading export destination in the region between 2005 and 2006 before being displaced by South Africa.
South Africa, which had been the country’s leading export destination in 2007, was a close second accounting for 20 percent of the exports from Zimbabwe.
Malawi was third at 16 percent followed by Botswana, which accounted for 12 percent of exports and Mozambique that accounted for 5 percent.
Exports to other countries in the region accounted for 7 percent while those to the rest of the world accounted for 9 percent.
Total shipments for the manufacturing sector from January 1 to June 30 2009 amounted to US$67,1 million, compared to US$123,5 million for the same period in 2008, reflecting a 46 percent decrease.
Over the first six months of 2009, the sector accounted for 14 percent of export shipment (mining 44 percent, tobacco 26 percent, agriculture 13 percent, horticulture 2 percent and hunting 1 percent).
At its peak in the 1990s the manufacturing sector contributed exports and foreign exchange earnings of up to 37 percent.
According to the survey, the decrease can be explained in part by a possible deliberate shift by the local manufactures to focus on the local market as trading and payment cycle are much shorter for the local environment than in exports.
The market, however, needs to be cognisant of the fact that Zimbabwe is a small market in global terms and therefore cultivation of export markets is central to long- term growth.