Exporting to Zimbabwe

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.

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

Currently, 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).

Ease of doing business

155th

out of 190 countries (World Bank, 2018)

Currency

Zimbabwe Dollar

Business language

English

GDP per capita

$1,711

UK is $43,558 (IMF, 2018)

Economic growth

3.4%

(IMF, 2018)

Time zone

GMT +2

Opportunities for exporters

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

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 2% Tax 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.

More information on the IMTT can be found here.

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.

Operating in Zimbabwe

Intellectual property

As a first step, we advise you to speak to an intellectual property lawyer if you think you need patent protection when exporting.

Intellectual Property is regulated and protected in terms of several intellectual property laws in Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe is also member of the African Regional Industrial Property Organisation, which has the authority to grant patents in Zimbabwe as well as several of its regional neighbours.

More information can be found here.

Engagement of advisors, lawyers and accountants

It is recommended to engage the services of various well established and experienced advisors, 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. DIT 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.

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.