Government has urged the business sector to develop a robust commercial sector saying it is vital for import substitution and crucial following Zimbabwe’s ratification of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area ( AfCFTA) in 2019.
Officiating at the Buy Zimbabwe, Buy Local Summit held in the capital today, Vice President Constantino Chiwenga said the ( AfCFTA) presents great opportunities for the country to spread its wings beyond SADC region and reach out new markets.
“ As a nation, we need to take up our position in the Africa Continental Free Trade Area so that we do not end up only getting imports from other countries which will drive out local products.
In essence , we need to invest in efficient manufacturing process that will give us a competitive edge over the rest of the continent. Once we become competitive, the opportunities for our manufacturing sector are endless, “ he said.
He added that government acknowledges that increased domestic production of quality goods and consumption can facilitate the expansion of the Zimbabwean industrial sector and increase exports.
“The implementation of the local content strategy in partnership with the private sector stimulates and propels development of value chains as well as strengthening local linkages amongst the agricultural, extractive, industrial and service sector.
“It is common that the continuous drive of the ‘Produce Local Buy Local’ campaign, the localization and domestication of value and supply chains is central to driving economic growth in line with the National Development Strategy 1.
“This initiative has resulted in most of our retail outlets increasing shelf space of locally produced goods to over sixty percent,” he said.
The Vice President applauded Buy Zimbabwe for organizing the summit saying the event seeks to promote domestic production and consumption in line with the local content strategy and Zimbabwe National Industrial Development Policy 2019-2023.
The Afcfta aims at accelerating intra-African trade and boosting Africa’s trading position in the global market by strengthening Africa’s common voice and policy space in global trade negotiations. As at 5 February 2021, 36 countries have deposited their instruments of ratification., 36 countries have ratified the AfCFTA agreement.