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'Buy South African' Campaign Worries Zimbabwean Exporting Firms

Zimbabwean firms last year exported goods worth 1.4 billion rand to South Africa while importing goods worth some 15 billion rand, making Zimbabwe by far a net importer across the Limpopo River

Zimbabwean businesses exporting to the South African market are concerned they may see a drop in orders in the wake of an agreement between the government, business and labor in that country to procure 75 percent of goods locally.

The state-controlled Sunday Mail reported that the South African domestic-sourcing pact could make it harder for Zimbabweans to export drugs, footwear, clothes, tobacco and cotton south of the Limpopo once the campaign begins December 7.

South Africa is Zimbabwe’s biggest trading partner. Local firms last year exported goods worth 1.4 billion rand while imports from South Africa amounted to 15 billion - making Zimbabwe a net importer by a factor of more than 10 times.

Bulisani Ncube, regional manager of the Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce, said Harare should put similar measures in place. “Our government should ensure that this is done in the next financial year,” Ncube declared.

But economist Tony Hawkins said the South African trade measures are aimed at Asian businesses that are dumping cheap goods into that huge market.

South Africa is expected to enact the Preferential Procurement Policy Framework Act next month giving legal effect to the Local Procurement Accord.