While 2020 has been a challenging year for Zimbabwe due to the impact of the pandemic, what has been encouraging is the resilience shown by Zimbabwean companies, particularly in remaining visible in export markets. Certainly, the year started on a positive note, with Zimbabwean companies setting up themselves to enter more regional and international markets.
Although Covid-19 would then shock export markets across the world, ZimTrade — the national trade development and promotion organisation — was able to put in place an array of interventions to ensure local exporters were able to cope with the pandemic. Demand dropped for non-essential products such as flowers in Europe, which is the largest importer of Zimbabwe’s florae. This was, however, not unique to Zimbabwe alone as most countries across the world witnessed a huge decline in exports.
To stay afloat, some local exporters diversified their export products to ensure that they supplied products in demand while others focused more on regional markets. These strategies paid off as Zimbabwe recorded an increase in exports between January and September this year, compared to the same period last year.
According to figures for January-September 2020 released by ZimStats, the country’s exports stood at US$2,962 billion, which was 5 percent higher than US$2,821 billion recorded for the same period in 2019. Imports went down by 4,5 percent to US$3,405 billion from US$3,566 billion in 2019. Resultantly the trade deficit declined by 40 percent from US$745 million to US$442 million in 2020.