EU commits $7,5m to competitiveness project


HARARE – The European Union (EU) is set to inject about $7,5 million through its development fund to enhance local competitiveness, the union’s ambassador to the country Phillipe Van Damme has said.

The EU envoy yesterday told delegates at the launch of the Zimbabwe Trade Information Portal in the capital that the fund, to be released next year, was also targeted at helping Small to Medium Enterprises (SMEs).


“Just last week, we concluded work to formulate a trade project funded from the regional envelopes of the 11th EU Development Fund.

“The project is for a total amount of Euro7 million and will come in addition to the funds earmarked for Zimbabwe at a national level,” he said.

The EU ambassador said the project — titled Zimbabwe EPA Implementation Support Project is aimed at enhancing competitiveness and integration into the regional trading system.

“It works through three main objectives which are addressing policy barriers and high regulatory costs,

“The other aim is to address high trade costs, in particular through improved and accountable customs and border management and strengthening the capacity of trade institutions to help SMEs access export support service providers,” he said.

Meanwhile, the EU together with local trade promotion body ZimTrade and Private Sector Development Programme (TPSDP) yesterday launched the Zimbabwe Trade Information Portal (Tip).

The Portal is an on-line platform that provides a comprehensive, single source of up-to-date trade, investment and economic  related information that is useful to both exporters and buyers of Zimbabwean products and services.

Zimtrade chief executive Sithembile Pilime, speaking at the same event said the portal was going to assist exporters and importers in their trade activities.

“By launching the portal today, Zimbabwe has made a major stride in making access to trade information and market intelligence timely and convenient.

“One of the most important components of the Portal is the Zimbabwe-European Union Business Information Centre, which was also developed under the same Programme, TPSDP, and provides official market information such as preferential arrangements for exporting to the European Union under the interim Economic Partnership Agreement,” Pilime said.

The Tip allows a connection to linked websites, as its architecture is also meant for low bandwidth users.

It is compatible with computers, laptops, tablets and smart phones.

“This enables businesses to access information from anywhere and at anytime, without the need to physically visit the relevant organisations, thus saving both time and money.

“More importantly, the Tip comes with its own mobile application, which will allow you to be in touch with ZimTrade at all times,” Pilime said.


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