Zimbabwe engages BRICS for investment and trade
Zimbabwe has set sights on the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) group of emerging world economic powerhouses as a source of trade and investment to fill the void left by crisis hit western countries.
The southern African country seeks to fix an economy that is currently battling to recover from a decade-long recession, and says it requires US$10 billion to rebuild dilapidated infrastructure and ease a 90 percent unemployment rate.
The BRICS have acted as a “shock-absorber” for the world economy, as the fast-growing economies showed resilience to the global recession and the euro zone debt crisis, economists say.
Trade between Zimbabwe and South Africa was valued at 17.5 billion rand (US$2.3 billion) in 2011, South Africa’s Deputy Trade Minister Elizabeth Thabethe said last week.
Through its much-vaunted “Look East” policy, Zimbabwe has managed to expand bilateral and trade relations and given priority to investors from countries such as China and India, as investors from western countries turn away from it due to concerns around the country’s risk profile.
Zimbabwe-European Union trade volumes have declined since 2000. Between 2002 and 2008 both exports and imports went down by 49 percent and 28 percent respectively, according to EU figures, while trade between Zimbabwe and the BRICS increased by 36 percent between 2010 and 2011.
Last week the coalition government launched its 5-year national trade and industrial development policies to spruce up the country’s export competitiveness, targeting annual export earnings of 10 percent to US$7 billion by 2016, up from US$4.3 billion in 2011.