KATHMANDU, March 28: A visiting Zimbabwean minister has said that African country wants to learn from Nepal to organize remittances inflow to improve its GDP.
Though Nepal and Zimbabwe are yet to establish diplomatic relation, a Zimbabwean government team is in Nepal to study how Nepal is maintaining GDP growth despite having huge trade deficit, and study Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in Nepal, among others.
The visit is being coordinated by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) as part of the principle of experience exchange of south to south cooperation enshrined in sustainable development goal.
In an interview with Republica, Zimbabwe's Minister for Small and Medium Enterprises and Cooperation Development Sithembiso G G Nyoni said that the team wants to learn the way Nepal has promoted SMEs and organized remittance flows. She also said that Zimbabwe was looking for more sustainable projects from the development partners to end poverty by promoting SMEs through proper utilization of raw materials.
“Nepal is importing more than what it exports. We are also in the same position like Nepal. However, Nepal's GDP is higher than ours,” Nyoni explained, saying that they want to organize remittances sent by Zimbabweans plying their trade in foreign countries.
About 3 million Zimbabweans are working in different countries like South Africa, Australia and the United Kingdom. The GDP growth of Zimbabwe, which has population of 15.6 million, is a little above 1 percent, while Nepal has been enjoying average GDP ground of around 4 percent. A news report of Reuters says the country's is suffering from power shortages and lack of foreign investment, while companies are cutting jobs as they struggle to pay salaries.
“We also want to want to capitalize on the remittances by bringing in into income bracket as well as charge duty on imports and reorganize revenue system for more revenue mobilization like Nepal,” added Nyoni. “The other areas that we found is Nepal has built 'development networks'. For instance, UN agencies are partnering in most of your government programs,” she said, adding that Zimbabwe also wants to forge similar partnership with the development partners.
Nyoni also said that her government was requesting the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund to set up their offices in Zimbabwe.
Zimbabwe currently imports processed food from South Africa, readymade garments from China, and machineries and technology from India and Brazil. It mostly exports key raw materials like gold, coal and tobacco, cotton, and horticulture, handicraft and tobacco products.
“We have realized that we are exporting jobs by exporting raw materials. We are also exporting expertise as our youths have left the country seeking better opportunities,” Nyoni said, adding that they have started sending people abroad to learn value addition to their raw materials.
Nyoni and her team also visited small and medium enterprises in Kavre and Kaski.
Minister Nyoni has also invited Nepali women entrepreneurs to participate in international trade fair to be held in Zimbabwe in April. “Nepalis are also invited to participate in a conference of African ministers on SMEs to be held in June,” added Nyoni.
She also said that her country can import fabrics from Nepal and export gold, shoes and leather products from Zimbabwe.
The team is wrapping up its nine-day visit on Tuesday.