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Government to engage Ramaphosa over Zambia-South Africa trade imbalance

The resignation of Jacob Zuma, and the subsequent election of Cyril Ramaphosa as the president of South Africa has given Zambia impetus to balance trade ties and strengthen the bilateral relationship with the regional economic powerhouse.   

President Edgar Lungu commended the election of Ramaphosa and hopes that it will not only help strengthen the bilateral relationship but also resolve the trade imbalances that have disadvantaged Zambia, according to presidential spokesperson Amos Chanda. 

Zambia’s trade deficit with South Africa is in the ratio of 1: 50 with the latter earning USD$3 billion more than Zambia through exports to the former. 

Besides copper and other mineral-related products, Zambia exports over 200 different products that include sugar and cotton to South Africa but fetch a lowly USD$17 million to USD$22 million annually in export revenue. 

The total value of trade between the two countries stands at USD$2.8 billion, which is tilted in favour of South Africa accounting for over USD$2.4 billion, according to latest data released by the Ministry of Commerce Trade and Industry. 

The imbalance means that Zambia plays a big role in the economic development of South Africa through goods and services ranging from toothpicks to razor blades, and from bananas to chickens. South Africa does not recognise the Zambia Bureau of Standards, thus other Zambian products that are certified by the bureau are not allowed to penetrate the market. 

South Africa has an overly strict phytosanitary policy that has been making it almost impossible for certain Zambian products to enter that market. These barriers, Zambia believes are intended to ensure the South Africa manufacturing industry enjoys good local as well as foreign markets at the expense of Zambian products.


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TRADE IMBALANCE SOUTH AFRICA trade bilateral trade