Zimbabwe’s Top 10 Imports

Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe

Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe imported US$3.4 billion worth of goods from international suppliers in 2017, down -55.4% since 2013 and down -34.1% from 2016 to 2017.

Zimbabwean imports represent a tiny 0.02% sliver of total global imports which totaled $16.054 trillion as of February 2018.

From a continental perspective and using 2016 data, $2.7 billion or 52.7% of Zimbabwe’s total imports by value in 2016 were purchased from African countries. Asian trade partners supplied 37.7% of Zimbabwe’s total imports while 6.2% worth of goods originated from European nations. A smaller percentage (2.5%) came from North America.

Given Zimbabwe’s population of 13.8 million people, its total $3.4 billion in 2017 imports translates to roughly $250 in yearly product demand from every person in the African nation.

Zimbabwe’s Top 10 Imports

Top 10

The following product groups, reported at the 2-digit Harmonized Tariff System (HTS) code level, represent the highest dollar value in Zimbabwe’s import purchases during 2017. Also shown is the percentage share that each product category represents in terms of overall imports into Zimbabwe.

At the more granular four-digit Harmonized Tariff System code level, the costliest goods imported into Zimbabwe are phone system devices including smartphones ($163 million) followed by imported electrical energy ($150.1 million), medication mixes in dosage ($121.6 million), trucks ($89.9 million), the agricultural product corn ($77 million) then refined petroleum oils ($73.7 million).

  1. Machinery including computers: US$472.7 million (13.8% of total imports)
  2. Electrical machinery, equipment: $309.2 million (9%)
  3. Mineral fuels including oil: $264.6 million (7.7%)
  4. Vehicles: $252.9 million (7.4%)
  5. Plastics, plastic articles: $167.6 million (4.9%)
  6. Pharmaceuticals: $164.2 million (4.8%)
  7. Cereals: $125.8 million (3.7%)
  8. Other chemical goods: $123.2 million (3.6%)
  9. Iron, steel: $110.4 million (3.2%)
  10. Fertilizers: $104.3 million (3%)

Zimbabwe’s top 10 imports account for 61% of the overall value of its product purchases from other countries.

Imported miscellaneous chemical goods had the fastest-growing increase in value among the top 10 import categories, up 17.1% from 2016 to 2017.

In second place for rising import costs were fertilizers, up 9.6%.

Leading the decliners was the mineral fuels including oil category via its -82.4% depreciation, thanks to plummeting Zimbabwean imports of refined petroleum oils. The cereals category fell -75.7% year over year, weighted down by Zimbabwe’s decreasing purchases of corn, rice and wheat in 2017.

Please note that the results listed above are at the 2-digit Harmonized Tariff System code level. Information presented under other virtual folder tabs is at the more granular 4-digit level.

Machinery

In 2017, Zimbabwean importers spent the most on the following 10 subcategories of machines including computers.

  1. Computers, optical readers: US$57.3 million (up 23.5% from 2016)
  2. Heavy machinery (bulldozers, excavators, road rollers): $37.7 million (up 4.1%)
  3. Machinery parts: $37.2 million (up 8.8%)
  4. Sort/screen/washing machinery: $32.7 million (up 12.9%)
  5. Liquid pumps and elevators: $25.8 million (up 31.3%)
  6. Spray/dispersing mechanical appliances: $25.4 million (up 26.1%)
  7. Centrifuges, filters and purifiers: $18.6 million (down -49.8%)
  8. Printing machinery: $15.9 million (up 24.6%)
  9. Taps, valves, similar appliances: $13.8 million (down -0.4%)
  10. Move/grade/scrape/boring machinery: $13.2 million (up 28%)

Among these import subcategories, Zimbabwe’s purchases of liquid pumps and elevators (up 31.3%), move/grade/scrape/boring machinery (up 28%) and spray/dispersing mechanical appliances (up 26.1%) grew at the fastest pace from 2016 to 2017.

These amounts and the percentage gains within parenthesis clearly show where the strongest demand lies for different types of imported machinery among Zimbabwean businesses and consumers.

Electrical

In 2017, Zimbabwean importers spent the most on the following subcategories of electrical goods.

  1. Phone system devices including smartphones: US$163 million (up 74.7% from 2016)
  2. Electrical converters/power units: $17.8 million (down -37.6%)
  3. Insulated wire/cable: $15.3 million (down -3.8%)
  4. Electric storage batteries: $11.7 million (up 42%)
  5. Electrical/optical circuit boards, panels: $11.4 million (up 51.3%)
  6. Electric generating sets, converters: $9.4 million (down -37.3%)
  7. Lower-voltage switches, fuses: $8.7 million (up 21.1%)
  8. Solar power diodes/semi-conductors: $7.8 million (up 45.5%)
  9. TV receivers/monitors/projectors: $7.2 million (down -22.1%)
  10. Electric motors, generators: $6.4 million (up 15.4%)

Among these import subcategories, Zimbabwe’s purchases of phone system devices including smartphones (up 74.7%), electrical/optical circuit boards and panels (up 51.3%) and solar power diodes/semi-conductors (up 45.5%) grew at the fastest pace from 2016 to 2017.

These amounts and the percentage gains within parenthesis clearly show where the strongest demand lies for different types of imported electrical products among Zimbabwean businesses and consumers.

Fuel

In 2017, Zimbabwean importers spent the most on the following 10 subcategories of mineral fuel-related products.

  1. Electrical energy: US$150.1 million (down -10.9% from 2016)
  2. Processed petroleum oils: $73.7 million (down -94.3%)
  3. Petroleum gases: $22.4 million (up 17.4%)
  4. Petroleum jelly, mineral waxes: $5 million (up 1.6%)
  5. Coke, semi-coke: $4.3 million (up 9.4%)
  6. Petroleum oil residues: $3.4 million (up 56.4%)
  7. Asphalt/petroleum bitumen mixes: $3 million (up 182%)
  8. Coal, solid fuels made from coal: $1.6 million (up 50.3%)
  9. Natural bitumen, asphalt, shale: $523,000 (up 45.3%)
  10. Coal tar oils (high temperature distillation): $320,000 (up 79.8%)

Among these import subcategories, Zimbabwe’s purchases of asphalt/petroleum bitumen mixes (up 182%), high temperature distilled coal tar oils (up 79.8%) and petroleum oil residues (up 56.4%) grew at the fastest pace from 2016 to 2017.

These amounts and the percentage gains within parenthesis clearly show where the strongest demand lies for different types of imported fuel among Zimbabwean businesses and consumers.

Vehicles

In 2017, Zimbabwean importers spent the most on the following 10 subcategories of vehicles.

  1. Trucks: US$89.9 million (down -20.6% from 2016)
  2. Cars: $49.1 million (down -55%)
  3. Tractors: $40.8 million (down -10.7%)
  4. Automobile parts/accessories: $30.6 million (up 23.5%)
  5. Trailers: $14.5 million (down -8.2%)
  6. Public-transport vehicles: $13.9 million (down -22.2%)
  7. Special purpose vehicles: $4.8 million (down -42.5%)
  8. Motorcycles: $3.7 million (up 22.5%)
  9. Bicycles, other non-motorized cycles: $2.1 million (down -1.1%)
  10. Motorcycle parts/accessories: $1.6 million (up 139.9%)

Among these import subcategories, Zimbabwe’s purchases of motorcycle parts or accessories (up 139.9%), automobile parts or accessories (up 23.5%) and motorcycles (up 22.5%) were Zimbabwe’s only three top imports to expand in value from 2016 to 2017.

Declines range from -8.2% for imported trailers to -55% for cars.

These amounts and the percentage gains within parenthesis clearly show where the strongest demand lies for different product subcategories of imported vehicles among Zimbabwean businesses and consumers.



 
See also Zimbabwe’s Top 10 Exports, Top African Export Countries, Top South African Trading Partners and Nigeria’s Top 10 Exports

Research Sources:
International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database (GDP based on Purchasing Power Parity). Accessed on August 18, 2018

The World Factbook, Country Profiles, Central Intelligence Agency. Accessed on August 18, 2018

Trade Map, International Trade Centre. Accessed on August 18, 2018

Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on August 18, 2018

Wikipedia, Zimbabwe. Accessed on August 18, 2018

Forbes 2015 Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on August 18, 2018