Exporting guide to 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
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
|Road vehicles other than cars (capital)||15.9|
|Specialised machinery (capital)||2.4|
|Office machinery (capital)||1.4|
Total import value (into the UK from Zimbabwe) and export value (from the UK into Zimbabwe) over time
|Year||Imports (£million)||Exports (£million)||Total trade (£million)|
ONS UK total trade: all countries, seasonally adjusted
Last updated: July 2022
Total trade is the sum of all exports and imports over the same time period.
Download the latest trade and investment factsheet for Zimbabwe.
Zimbabwe: at a glance
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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:
Demand for Independent Power Producers (IPPs)
In 2002, Zimbabwe’s Electricity Act was amended to allow for independent power production for electricity, to supplement electricity generated by the public Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority. UK firms can also partner with major consumers of electricity (e.g. mining companies) that are looking at setting up independent power plants to support their power needs.
Push towards renewables
According to the African EU Renewable Energy Cooperation Program, Zimbabwe has strong potential for electricity generation from hydro, solar and biomass resources. Unfortunately, most of the country’s renewable energy potential remains unexploited. The Ministry of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Policy encourages the adoption of renewable energy and provides opportunities for UK firms.
Refurbishment of transmission and distribution network
Zimbabwe’s Transmission and Distribution network is outdated and in need of refurbishment. In the Southern Africa Power Pool, Zimbabwe has been identified as a bottleneck for many transactions. Some of the major planned projects include the Central Transmission Corridor, the Mozambique-Zimbabwe-South Africa Interconnection and the Zimbabwe-Zambia-Botswana-Namibia Interconnection.
Growing horticultural exports sector
Zimbabwe has been experiencing significant expansion of its horticultural produce into new markets, including the UK, due to increased consumer demand. Zimbabwe also has a reputation for quality produce and a favourable supply window for exporting into the UK.
Demand for irrigation equipment
Zimbabwe is highly dependent on rain-fed agriculture and is currently experiencing the adverse effects of climate change. The country’s water bodies have the potential to irrigate about 2 million hectares, and yet only less than 10% of that is currently under irrigation (Zimbabwe Investment Authority, 2018). UK firms can export irrigation equipment into Zimbabwe and enhance the export potential of Zimbabwe’s farms.
Demand for agricultural mechanisation equipment
Zimbabwe has a large number of smallholder farmers without adequate tillage equipment, resulting in low land utilisation and food shortages. Zimbabwe wants to address the problem by promoting mechanised farming through provision of affordable machinery, and this is an opportunity for UK firms to supply, maintain and repair the agricultural machinery.
Remarkable resource base
Zimbabwe has the 2nd largest Diamond and Platinum reserves in the world, the largest Chrome Ore resources in the world and deposits of 8 out of the 9 rare earth elements. Major mineral belts include the Great Dyke belt and the Beitbridge-Gokwe-Hwange coal belts (Zimbabwe Investment Authority, 2018).
Opportunities across the mining value chain
UK firms can invest in the mining value chain which includes provision of finance and technical services, exploration, extraction, logistics, beneficiation and value addition.
Demand for tourism infrastructure
Investment opportunities include establishment of tourism infrastructure for the modern tourist, refurbishment of existing infrastructure in resort towns through partnerships with local hotels and tourism operators, as well as refurbishment of airport infrastructure.
Tourism development zones
The National Tourism Master Plan has identified strategic Tourism Development Zones throughout the country. Each zone has a unique product offering, bringing future growth potential for various industries.
The Victoria Falls Special Economic Zone (SEZ)
The Victoria Falls SEZ will see the development of world class tourism facilities and services that will put Zimbabwe at a regional competitive advantage. Investment is open in this sector for hotel construction, shopping, theme parks, medical tourism, conventions and exhibitions, as well as other tourism related services.