Zimbabwean Traders Grapple With Post-Lockdown

In spite of a relaxation of Zimbabwe’s lockdown measures by President Emmerson Mnangagwa, the impact of a month-long national lockdown on Jan. 5 this year, after a spike in coronavirus, continues to bite on.

Now citizens are free to trade openly and travel across the country while wearing of masks, temperature checks, and handwashing in all public areas remain obligatory.

Cross-border traders are however groaning under the impact of a closed Beitbridge border post currently undergoing upgrades.

Zimbabwe’s economy is mostly informal and relies on cross-border trading, street hawking and small enterprises.

Some traders say the continued closure of land borders by Zimbabwean authorities has plunged them into dire straits.

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The country’s Information Secretary, Nick Mangwana land borders have remained lock due to concerns for spikes in COVID-19 infections.

Mangwana said: “We haven’t opened everything, we haven’t even opened restaurants for sit-ins because in the first place for this disease to be in this country, it had to be imported “

In trying to narrow its debt and shore up revenues, Beitbridge Municipality hiked water tariffs by 7 percent in adjustment to challenges emanating from the Covid19 pandemic.

The Beitbridge border post, easily the busiest border crossing in Southern Africa symbolises the political border between South Africa and Zimbabwe.

Truckers in 2020 died due to congestion at the Beitbridge Border post.

It is a major trade route with surrounding countries. An ongoing upgrade of the border facilities and the route is expected to significantly reduce waiting periods that has delayed haulage and slowed trade across Southern Africa.

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The African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) recently approved Rand 1Billion to finance the expansion and upgrade of the Beitbridge border post in Zimbabwe.

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