Dubai emerged as the best export destination for Zimbabwe in December 2021, overriding South Africa, for the first time since the beginning of the year. Exports to Dubai accounted for 42.2% ahead of South Africa’s which constituted 38.1%. This translates to 4.1% increase in exports to UAE ahead of South Africa.


The total value of exports retreated slightly in December to US$590 million from US$647 million in November, which saw the trade deficit widen to US$180 million from US$37 million the prior month.

Although monthly exports took a knock in December 2021, the figure remains the fourth highest monthly foreign currency inflow for the last three years.

South Africa had been Zimbabwe’s largest export destination for the past five years, with UAE always trailing behind. However, the export data for December, although for only a month, signals to something very interesting.

Although South Africa remains, Zimbabwe’s biggest trading partner, Dubai is rising as a destination of the nation’s gold. Despite that, exports to Dubai have been on an upward trajectory having risen by 87% since 2017 to 2021.


The trade data mostly reflects Dubai as a major destination for Zimbabwean gold. In December, in total, Zimbabwe exported 4,417 kg of gold valued at US$248.1 million, compared to 2,455kg valued at US$139.1 million in November most of it going to Dubai. Besides Zimbabwe, Dubai has also become the biggest buyer of gold from Africa.