The night run: how Zimbabwean traders are dodging suffocating import restrictions

On 17 June Zimbabwe’s authorities imposed restrictions on imports of foreign dental fillings, kitchen sinks, baby formulae, pencils and much more. Cross border vendors, dependent on this trade to survive, have become desperate.

Long distance buses with empty trailers can now be seen on the Zimbabwean side of the border. Angry traders set ablaze a warehouse full of seized tomato cans, blankets and farming implements at the Beitbridge border crossing in July, as police ran for cover.

According to Zimbabwe’s Minister of Industry and Commerce, Michael Bimha the restrictions have been implemented to “allow our local companies to retool and increase production. It is temporary, and we will remove the law after some time.”