Exporting guide to Zimbabwe

Overview

Zimbabwe has a tough business environment and is facing significant macro-economic challenges. Nevertheless, investment and export opportunities exist if risks are managed. Anglo American, Unilever, and Standard Chartered are some of the major UK firms in Zimbabwe.

Trade statistics

£74.0 million total UK exports to Zimbabwe for the four quarters to the end of Q1 2022

(Source: ONS UK total trade: all countries, seasonally adjusted
Last updated: July 2022)

131st largest UK export market

(Source: ONS UK total trade: all countries, seasonally adjusted
Last updated: July 2022)

less than 0.1% of total UK exports for the four quarters to the end of Q1 2022

(Source: ONS UK total trade: all countries, seasonally adjusted
Last updated: July 2022)

Strong cultural and trade links with the UK

English is the main language of business in Zimbabwe and there are further strong links through institutions, people and history.

Strategic location within Southern Africa

Zimbabwe is a gateway through the North-South Corridor to Southern African logistics, roads, rail, power and telecoms. Zimbabwe’s strategic location can help UK firms successfully expand exports into the rest of Southern Africa.

Young, skilled and growing consumer base

74% of Zimbabwe’s population are under the age of 35 and the majority of the country’s working population comprises of young people (Zimbabwe Inter-Censal Demographic Survey, 2017). In addition, Zimbabwe ranks among the top 5 in Africa for a skilled and well-diversified human capital base (Legatum Prosperity Index, 2018).

Top five UK goods exported to Zimbabwe, in the four quarters to the end of Q1 2022

Goods Value (£million)
Road vehicles other than cars (capital) 15.9
Cars 4.1
Specialised machinery (capital) 2.4
Office machinery (capital) 1.4
Live animals 1.4

Source: ONS Trade in goods: country-by-commodity exports
Last updated: July 2022
Download the latest trade and investment factsheet for Zimbabwe.

Zimbabwe: at a glance

Economic growth

-6.1%

Actual figure (IMF, 2019)
The UK is 1.7% (IMF, 2019, actual figure)

GDP per capita

$1,481

Actual figure (IMF, 2017)
The UK is $40,904 (IMF, 2017, actual figure)

Currency

Zimbabwe Dollar

Business language

English

Time zone

GMT +2

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Opportunities for exporters

There are opportunities for UK companies across a broad range of industries. Our trade advisers in Zimbabwe have identified particular opportunities for UK businesses in the following sectors:

Check for trade barriers

Trade barriers, such as tariffs or taxes, can raise costs, cause delays, or even stop you from exporting. Check for any issues that may impact your business when exporting.

See current trade barriers

See resolved trade barriers

Check duties and customs

Find information on how to export goods from the UK. View the duties, rules, restrictions, and the documents you need for your products.

See current duties and customs procedures

Doing business in Zimbabwe

Preparing to export

Taxation

The UK and Zimbabwe have signed a Double Taxation Agreement (DTA), meaning the same income is not taxed twice.

VAT

If you’re registered for VAT in the UK, it may be possible to zero-rate the goods you export to Zimbabwe, provided certain conditions are met.

VAT is levied at the rate of 15% in Zimbabwe. VAT on goods and services which are sold in United States Dollars or any other foreign currency will be required to be paid to the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (ZIMRA) in the same form as it was collected, that is, in that foreign currency.

Intermediated Money Transfer Tax (IMTT)

An Intermediated Money Transfer Tax of 2% is levied on all electronic transactions within Zimbabwe. This tax, known as IMTT, is levied each time that a financial institution mediates the transfer of money and includes bank transfers and transfers using mobile money platforms subject to various exemptions.

Corporate income tax

Corporate Income tax is 25% of the taxable income earned by a company in a year of assessment, after exemptions and allowable deductions from the Company’s gross income. An additional 3% AIDS levy is levied on the tax chargeable on a Company’s income thus making the effective tax rate 25.75%.

Regulations

The Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (ZIMRA) derives its mandate from the Revenue Authority Act and other subsidiary legislation and has the mandate to:

  • collect revenue
  • facilitate trade and travel
  • advise government on fiscal and economic matters
  • protect civil society

More information can be found here.

Trade barriers

Check for any reported barriers to trading with Zimbabwe.

Report any trade barriers that are affecting your business so we can help fix them.

Operating in Zimbabwe

Intellectual property

Intellectual property (IP) rights are territorial and rights granted in the UK do not provide protection elsewhere. You should consider getting IP protection abroad if you want to trade overseas or sell to overseas customers via the internet.

The Intellectual Property Office provides practical information to help you protect, manage and enforce your IP abroad. Further support for British businesses can be found through a network of IP attachés, based in key UK export markets

Engagement of advisers, lawyers and accountants

It is recommended to engage the services of various well established and experienced advisers, lawyers, accountants and investment bodies for legal and financial advice when trading or investing in Zimbabwe. These local firms can assist in identifying potential risks and offering solutions to mitigate these risks. Department for International Trade can assist with links to these service providers.

Routes to market

The traditional routes to market in Zimbabwe are:

  • direct exports
  • appointing a distributor or agent
  • setting up a company or joint venture

It is also a good idea to have a local representative who understands the culture in Zimbabwe.

Entry requirements

UK nationals may be granted a visitor’s visa at the port of entry upon arrival, and this permits them to conduct business on a short-term stay in Zimbabwe. The investor residence permit allows the holder of the permit to do business and reside in Zimbabwe for 5 years.

Overseas business risk

Read guidance about the security and political risks you may face when operating in Zimbabwe.

Next steps

DIT can advise you on doing business abroad, and help put you in touch with other people who can help such as lawyers and distributors.