Looking Down South: The Zimbabwean Market
1. Market Profile
Zimbabwe is a country with which Kenya traded a lot in the past, but whose profile gradually diminished due to the political factors in the last decade that resulted in an economic crisis.

During the decade from 1997-2008 the economy was faced with a number of complex challenges. Notwithstanding all this myriad of challenges Zimbabwe is on recover path after formation of Government of National Unity (GNU) between (ZANU-PF,MDC(T) and MDC (M) in February 2009.The political stability eased the tensions and  has translated into economic growth. The GDP growth rates from 2009 to 2010 averaged 6.0% and 8.2% respectively. There is anticipation for further growth rate projected at 9.1 percent in 2011 or IMF estimate of 7.5 percent. The country has since adopted the American dollar as a business currency both internally and externally to ease the erstwhile runaway inflation. The recovery is fragile but there is room for hope given the on-going reforms including the preparation of the draft Constitution and engagement of SADC as a facilitator for the political mediation.
The market profile however is on resurgence and portends good business opportunity that should be keenly attended by Kenyan Exporters interested in emerging business opportunities.

The African Trade Insurance Agency (ATIA) ,the African  multilateral trade insurance agency that is based in Nairobi can advise interested exporters on how to mitigate the political and Commercial risks in doing business with the Country.

2. Possible Kenyan Exports to Zimbabwe

  • Tea
  • Coffee
  • Cooking oil (liquid)
  • Confectionaries
  • Juices
  • Spices
  • Washing detergents
  • Rubber and Plastics products
  • Textiles and garments
  • Footwear  
  • Milk and dairy products
  • Petroleum and oil products
3. Logistics

Zimbabwe is a land locked country. Goods can nevertheless be transported via, air road and sea. The most efficient and economical is by sea .Interested exporters can seek more information from EPC or any logistics operators for other transport and documentation details.

4. Requirements for Exports to Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe is a member of COMESA and as such the tariffs apply.

Relevant authority in the exporting country has to issue specific documents/certificates that confirm that the goods conform to the importing requirements of Zimbabwe for such products.

Most exports to Zimbabwe are on Open General Import license (OGIL). This means that the only goods on the negative list continue to require import license / permits. Goods on the negative list include live animals, arms of war, precious stones, metals etc.

The Ministry of Industry and commerce is primarily in charge of sanctioning the importation of all types of goods. There are permits for specialized goods for which competent Zimbabwe government ministries and Departments issue. Among Key permits and issuing offices are:

  • Import permits for agriculture and horticultural produce and plants -Ministry of Agriculture, Mechanization and Irrigation Development produce.
  • permits  for the importation of domestic animals and produce thereof- the department of Veterinary Services
  • permits for the importation wild animals and trophies -the  National Parks and Wild life Management
  • permits for the importation of relics and national monuments- the National Museum and Monuments  
  • permits for the importation of hazardous substance -Environmental Management Agency (EMA)
  • permits for the importation of firearms- Registrar of Firearms ;
  • permits for the importation of medicine- Medicine Control Authority of Zimbabwe
  • Other relevant ministries and departments should be consulted when goods falling within their jurisdiction  are to be imported  e.g. (radio and telecommunication equipment- ministry of Media, information and publicity)

For more Information Contact the Export Promotion Council

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