Exports of goods and services grew by about 6.3 percent a year between 1965 and 1997, and manufactured exports accounted for more than 32 percent of total merchandise exports in 1997. Zimbabwe's export partners vary significantly from year to year. In 1996, the most important were South Africa, Botswana, Lesotho, and Swaziland (38 percent of imports and 12 percent of exports)—all members of the Southern African Customs Union. The United Kingdom was also an important trading partner (9 percent of imports and 12 percent of exports), as was Japan (5 percent of imports and 6 percent of exports), Germany (6 percent of imports), and the United States (5 percent of imports). Zimbabwe's membership in the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) has, in theory, provided access to new markets in regional trade. In practice, however, Zimbabwean exporters have been somewhat disappointed due to constraints in foreign exchange availability with the potential partners. The historic change of government in South Africa has enabled investment and trade between
|Trade (expressed in billions of US$): Zimbabwe|
|SOURCE: International Monetary Fund. International Financial Statistics Yearbook 1999.|
|Exchange rates: Zimbabwe|
|Zimbabwean dollars (Z$) per US$1|
|SOURCE: CIA World Factbook 2001 [ONLINE].|
the 2 countries, but the overall result has been that South Africa has taken an even larger share of Zimbabwe's domestic market following the recent increase in trade liberalization .