Botswana Investment and Trade Centre (BITC) has started exploring opportunities in neighboring Zimbabwe just a month after signing a memorandum of understanding with Zim Trade – Zimbabwe’s trade development and promotion body. BITC Director - Corporate Communications, Kutlo Moagi said the country’s trade and promotion body is quite pleased with both political and economic transformation taking shape in the neighboring Zimbabwe. It is against this backdrop that BITC is taking full advantage of the changing political and economic landscape in Zimbabwe saying it is good for business prospects that Zimbabwe can offer. Robert Mugabe was replaced by Emmerson Mnangagwa in November 2017. “It was difficult for the local businesses to penetrate the Zimbabwean market before the current administration took over. But the economic environment in Zimbabwe is encouraging indeed,” said Moagi. Moagi said the two neighbors have agreed to work together to improve trade between them, and fruits of the partnership are beginning to bear fruit. “We have started sharing market intelligence, supporting each other’s capacity development programmes as well as co-organizing trade development and promotional activities. And the surveys BITC conducted in Zimbabwe will boost trade between the two nations,” she said. According to recent figures released by Zim Trade, Botswana’s import bill in 2016 stood at an estimated P61 billion, with Zimbabwe contributing a paltry P215 million - an equivalent of a mere 0.35 percent. Trade Map that provide free access to world trade data on a monthly, quarterly and yearly basis by country revealed that Zimbabwe’s main exports to Botswana comprised sugar, wood and timber products, animal feeds, cigarettes and steel products such as doors and window frames. “Our recent trade surveys BITC conducted in Zimbabwe showed that there is a wide range of market for locally produced products,” said Moagi, adding that the penetration into Zimbabwean market was being compromised by the political situation.