Zimbabwe - Country Commercial Guide
Selling to the Public Sector
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Selling to the Government

Zimbabwe has not agreed to abide by the WTO Government Procurement Agreement and, where possible, prefers Zimbabwean bidders.  Due to its arrears to international financial institutions, Zimbabwe cannot borrow from those institutions.  Discussion of these how to address these arrears an ongoing and arduous process. 

There are, however, opportunities for U.S. firms to sell equipment to the government or to state-owned enterprises (SOEs) such as the National Railways of Zimbabwe and the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority.  Some U.S. firms have faced payment delays from the government following the signing of contracts. 

Some SOEs, such as the Zimbabwe Iron and Steel Company (and its successor companies), the Minerals Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe, and the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation, are subject to targeted sanctions administered by the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC).  U.S. nationals may not do business with these, or other entities designated by OFAC.  For details on targeted sanctions, including updates that are more current than this document, see OFAC’s website.

U.S. companies bidding on foreign government tenders may also qualify for U.S. Government advocacy. Within the U.S. Commerce Department’s International Trade Administration, the Advocacy Center coordinates U.S. Government interagency advocacy efforts on behalf of U.S. exporters in competition with foreign firms in foreign government projects or procurement opportunities. The Advocacy Center works closely with our network of the U.S. Commercial Service worldwide and inter-agency partners to ensure that exporters of U.S. products and services have the best possible chance of winning government contracts. Advocacy assistance can take many forms but often involves the U.S. Embassy or other U.S.  Government agency officials expressing support for the U.S. exporters directly to the foreign government. Consult the Advocacy Center’s program web page on trade.gov for additional information.

Financing of Projects 

Political risks and economic challenges are significant in Zimbabwe, and this tends to limit project financing from abroad.  A few regional banks such as the Preferential Trading Area (PTA) bank and the African Export Import Bank continue to offer funding to Zimbabwean firms.

Multilateral Development Banks and Financing Government Sales

Price, payment terms, and financing can be a significant factor in winning a government contract. Many governments finance public works projects through borrowing from the Multilateral Development Banks (MDB). The Guide to Doing Business with Multilateral Development Banks overviews how to work with MDBs. The International Trade Administration (ITA) has a Foreign Commercial Service Officer stationed at each of the five different Multilateral Development Banks (MDBs): the African Development Bank; the Asian Development Bank; the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development; the Inter-American Development Bank; and the World Bank.

Learn more by contacting the Commercial Liaison Office to the African Development Bank.