The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is ready to do business with Zimbabwe and local companies should take advantage of the cordial relations existing between the two countries to export to that country.
DRC Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Mr Mawampanga Mwana Nanga, said this in Bulawayo on Friday during a seminar organised by ZimTrade to present export opportunities available in Lubumbashi, DRC, to local exporters.
The seminar follows a recent market survey conducted by ZimTrade and a consultancy firm, Africa Corporate Advisor.
Mr Mwana Nanga said through exporting to DRC, Zimbabwe exporters can bring to an end the prevailing foreign currency shortages.
“DRC is a big country with a lot of investment opportunities in different sectors. And Zimbabwean exporters need to take advantage of the good political ties this country enjoys with DRC to export there. DRC’s big economy can be the answer to Zimbabwe’s quest for foreign currency,” he said.
During the breakfast session, it emerged that DRC has vast opportunities in areas such as engineering, electrical, pharmaceutical, fashion and clothing, agri-business, construction, mining and fast moving consumer goods.
Mr Mwana Nanga said his country has overtaken Zambia as the largest producer of copper on the continent producing about a million tonnes of copper annually.
“In order to produce that copper, there are things that can come from Zimbabwe; for example here in Matabeleland, the region is endowed with coal that you can take to DRC,” he said.
According to 2015 trade figures, DRC’s total import bill was $5,7 billion with Zimbabwe contributing less than one percent of that country’s imports.
Mr Mwana Nanga said Zimbabwe’s regions such as Matabeleland could tap into his country’s market by exporting products such as coal, beef, fruits, fish and kapenta and those can bring forex.
“I suggest that you (Zimbabwean businesses) can break-through the DRC market as a group easily. Land is not a problem in DRC and as Zimbabweans, you can negotiate with the DRC government so that they can give you a piece of land to build a bonded warehouse, and that can be done,” he said.
The DRC Ambassador said his country was also prepared to offer land to Zimbabwean small-scale miners and farmers in sectors such as gold and tobacco.
In light of the trade and investment opportunities in the DRC, Mr Mwana Nanga said, it was imperative for ZimTrade to now conduct a product specific market survey in sectors such as sugarcane, cement and poultry.
Earlier on, Africa Corporate Advisor director, Mr Malvern Rusike, implored Zimbabwe policy makers to review investment and trade policies that support private sector initiatives in accessing export markets.
“From the survey that we conducted in the DRC, there are a lot of opportunities in that country.
“This survey was not a product-specific survey, but it was a general broad market survey. In terms of our recommendations, there is a need for policy makers to review investment and trade policies that support private sector initiatives in accessing export markets,” he said.