President Emmerson Mnangagwa has expressed dismay at the lack of value-addition on exports coming out of Zimbabwe, saying it was eroding margins of the highly-needed foreign currency receipts.

Delivering his official opening statement at the ZimTrade conference on yesterday, Mnangagwa said he was worried that over 80% of exports were on unfinished products.

“The most important source of foreign currency to drive the economy is through exports, especially value-added goods and services,” he said.

“I note that minerals, tobacco, horticulture and selected manufactured products and services dominate the country’s export basket. The current scenario, however, where about 80% of our export earnings are coming from primary products and commodities, is undesirable.”

Mnangagwa urged more investment in value-addition to widen the export basket.

“Greater strides must be made to ensure that we expand the production and range of exported manufactured and processed goods across all sectors,” Mnangagwa said.

“The contribution of manufactured and processed agricultural commodities and services to top on exports should grow exponentially if we are to sustain economic growth trajectory and reduce our trade deficit.”

Mnangagwa said he was aware of the acute foreign currency shortages and the panic in the market, and assured the team of Finance minister Mthuli Ncube and Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor John Mangudya was working on solutions.

“My government will continue to re-engage with international financial institutions to support the recapitalisation and retooling of industry as well as trade finance to boost capacity utilisation and production for export,” he added.

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