HARARE – Zimbabwe’s first ever Trade Information Portal (TIP) will be officially launched on June 9 by Industry and Commerce minister Mike Bimha and the head of the European Union Delegation to Zimbabwe, Ambassador Philippe Van Damme.
The TIP has been conceived as a two-way highway in terms of providing key information both to Zimbabwean entrepreneurs interested in foreign markets, and to foreign entrepreneurs abroad interested in doing business with Zimbabwe by showcasing local companies, export products, opportunities and specific guidance.
This comes as Zimbabwe’s State investment agency has called for urgent policy and legislative reforms to attract foreign direct investment.
The World Bank has ranked the country 171 out of 189 countries on its 2014 ease-of-doing business index, a situation attributed to negative perceptions of Zimbabwe’s policies such as its land grab as well as the current crusade to localize control of all foreign-owned enterprises.
Policy inconsistencies have also been cited as reasons behind low FDI inflows into the country.
The TIP portal was developed under the EU-funded Trade and Private Sector Development Programme (TPSDP), which is being implemented by the International Trade Centre (ITC).
The TIP is an online platform that provides a comprehensive single-point access to up-to-date trade, investment, economic and regulatory information.
It offers access to market intelligence, current trade news, information on trade regulations, duties, trade agreements, taxes and other services designed to facilitate trade and support decision making.
In addition, it has market profiles of selected countries, priority manufacturing sub-sector briefs, government policies and regulations on international trade, and Zimbabwe’s trade agreements.
The TIP also features online tools, such as the ZimTrade Virtual Library, the Zimbabwe-European Union Business Information Centre (Zim-EBIC), a live chat service and an extensive set of classified links to other leading information resources, including ITC’s Market Analysis Tools, ITC’s Library and SME Trade Academy for e-learning opportunities.
Over 100 delegates, including captains of industry, diplomats and government officials are expected to attend the launch. ITC will be represented by trade information adviser Martin Lopez.