Member of the Intergovernmental Council of Countries Exporters of Copper (CIPEC)
The country have signed a trade agreement with 21 other countries in the São Paulo Round of the Global System of Trade Preferences among Developing Countries (GSTP). It also benefits fromthe Economic PartnershipAgreements with the EUwithin the frameworkof the EU-ACPCotonou Agreement.
Non Tariff Barriers
There are generally few barriers to trade. On occasion, the government has imposed bans on importing certain products (meat).
Customs Duties and Taxes on Imports
Zimbabweapplies the HarmonizedCommodity CodingSystem.COMESA membercountries such asSADCare working to establishcustoms unions.
The Government of Zimbabwe requires the following import documentation: a bill of entry plus relevant invoices, shipping documents such as a bill of lading, freight statements, and certificates of origin, especially for products entering from member states of SADC and the PTA.
Importingsamplesand other temporaryproducts requiresthe payment of adeposit, whichis refundableon export,orapplying for a temporaryimportprivilegeguaranteed bya bank orinsurance company.
Although retailers have existed in Zimbabwe for a long time, the introduction of global brands and outlets has really kick started the sector forcing local retailers to expand their boundaries to compete with their larger international competitors. Over the years, the distribution sector has become increasingly informal and the actors more numerous. The retail sector has undergone significant change since 2010, and after a period characterized by shortages and an inability to function normally. Retail and distribution sectors constitute the largest share of the country's imports, about 70% of products sold by the retail sub-sector are imported.
Due to the size of the market, most producers of goods sell their products to wholesalers who in turn sell to supermarket chains and specialized outlets in towns and general dealer shops in rural areas. There is a comprehensive and particularly well developed distribution network serving the large supermarket chains in Zimbabwe.
The informal distribution sector represents a large part of retail and wholesale sectors, although to a lesser extent than in other countries. The economic recession and the lowering purchasing power of the inhabitants have lead to an explosion in the number of small kiosks, stands and little family-owned stores.
As of December 2017, Zimbabwe had a population of 16.91 million people, out of which 6.8 million were Internet users, making the penetration rate 40.2%. Zimbabwe has been making advances in internet connectivity in recent years, but mobile internet is still the biggest platform for connectivity throughout the country. Smartphone penetration rate is estimated at 20-23% of the total population, according to TechZim. There is a significant urban-rural divide among Zimbabwean internet users due to fewer deployments of 3G and LTE in rural areas. As a result, a significant share of rural citizens don't have access to the Internet. However, the government aims to build 650 additional telecommunication towers in remote areas through the Universal Services Fund, which should help solve that urban-rural connectivity gap (Newsday). As of July 2018, the most popular browser in the country by market share was Chrome (39.82%), followed by Opera (26.59%), UC Browser (9.34%), Firefox (6.13%), Android (4.55%), and Safari (3.53%). As for search engines, Google (88.83%) dominated the market, followed by Bing (7.05%) and Yahoo (3.27%).
E-commerce has not yet taken off in Zimbabwe, particularly due to low internet penetration, but also because the culture of online purchasing hasn't been diffused in the country. Additionally, local courier services tend to be expensive and they usually don't deliver to remote areas. The little e-commerce that exists in the country is local and limited to urban areas, and there's virtually no cross-border e-commerce in Zimbabwe. There are some social media shops in the country, mainly on Facebook and Instagram. Hammer & Tongues, a local online shop, revealed that two-thirds of its buyers are male, the highest number of visitors are in the 35-44 age group, and 90% of transactions on the platform were made from Harare and Bulawayo (Tech Zim). Zimbabwean consumers are adopting payment methods such as Ecocash and Zipcash to pay within and outside the country's borders (Marketers Association Zimbabwe). Even though e-commerce hasn't taken off in Zimbabwe yet, the market is expected to improve in the medium term, particularly among the wealthier classes of consumers.
Organizing Goods Transport
Main Useful Means of Transport
Compared tomost otherAfrican countries, Zimbabwehas adequatetransport infrastructure, witha relatively well developedroad network, whichnonethelessrequires renovation works.Mostn cargois transportedbyrail and trucks.Airfreightis also available.
The industry accounts forabout 25% ofZimbabwe'sGDP, but the countryis experiencing aphase ofde-industrializationand the riseof the informal economy.The textile industryin particularcontinues to decline,suffering from competitionfrom clothing and cheap productimports.Miningdominatesthe industrial sector,the country hasabundantmineral resourcessuch asplatinum, chrome,diamonds, gold,nickel, coal, iron, etc.Outside themining sector,the main industriesare timber,chemicals andagribusiness.Keyindustrialplayers includeAnglo AmericanPlatinumLtd.,ImpalaPlatinum HoldingsLtd., Rio TintoPlc,Aquarius Platinumand British American TobaccoZimbabweLtd.
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