26 engineering companies have been urged to foster linkages with their counterparts within the SADC region and create buffer stocks in an effort to boost exports.

Conducting a scoping exercise for Zimbabwean companies within the engineering, metal and fabrication sector, a Germany expert, Mr Winfried Bruck said there was need for Zimbabwean industries to create linkages with neighbouring countries so as to boost exports.

The sentiments come at a time when the government has highlighted that the country has the potential to be an enormous hub in global trade and contribute more export value as has been done by neighbouring countries such as South Africa, Botswana and Zambia. 

“There is potential. Currently the firms are operating at between 25 and 50 percent. The equipment is there though it is not very new but anyway it serves the purpose. What they have to do is to look more around into the neighbouring countries to find agencies or other retailers who can build buffer stocks for their products. I have a positive feeling that as far as technical background is concerned, there is potential. If capacity building increases, I am sure there have a good future,” said Mr Bruck.

ZIMTRADE Manager Regional Office, Mr Similo Nkala said the scoping exercise was aimed at identifying gaps and creating synergies between local industries and organisations from developed countries.

“This scoping exercise began on the 5th of February and is expected to end on the 24th. So far, we have visited over 10 companies in Bulawayo where the German expert assesses these companies and give technical knowhow on improving their export competiveness. We have signed a memorandum of understanding with senior experts and we hope that this scoping exercise will help our local companies towards becoming competitive,” he said.

Zimbabwe is currently battling to contain huge fiscal deficiency and exports have been identified as vital components in generating foreign currency.