Zimbabwe-India trade leaps to $133mln on pharmaceuticals, but cotton exports collapse

BULAWAYO,– Trade between Zimbabwe and India grew 166 percent to $133 million last year but was heavily skewed in favour of the Asian country which has become the source market for most of the southern African country’s pharmaceutical needs, an official said on Friday.

hivIndia is one of the lowest-cost source markets of medical drugs in the world and according to the Trade and Law Centre (Tralac), an African trade watchdog, Zimbabwe’s medical drugs bill from that country rose from $14 million in 2008 to more than $50 million in 2013.

Acting Indian Ambassador to Zimbabwe Rakshpaul Malhotra told The Source that trade has been mainly about Zimbabwe importing goods from India.

“It was just India exporting goods to Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe’s (exports to India) were insignificant, around $200,000,” he said.

Zimbabwe’s biggest export to India is cotton, which earned $20 million in 2012 but fell off after poor output as farmers abandoned the crop in favour of the better paying cash crops like tobacco.

Malhotra, however, said Zimbabwe has the potential to push the figures in its favour as the country has numerous precious minerals which were in demand in India.

“In India, people like jewellery and Zimbabwe has a lot of precious minerals. It’s only a matter on working how the minerals can be exported for the benefit of the country,” he said.

Zimbabwe has been relying on drugs from India following the collapse of most of its pharmaceutical companies.

India is now one of the top 10 global pharmaceuticals markets in terms of sales and the industry is forecasted to reach $50 billion by value in 2020.

Apart from medical drugs, Zimbabwe also imports electrical appliances from India. – The Source

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