March 5, 2009

Sample Research Proposal on Zimbabwe-Russia Trade Relations from 1980 to 2007 and Beyond


            Trade is an important part of the growth and profitability of a nation. In the age of globalization, international trade has played a major role in the survival of both developed and developing countries. Globalization basically helped intensified competition among nations in the international market. This is reflected in regard to trading in goods and services and in movement of capital, labor and employment, environment (Hartungi, 2006).

            Zimbabwe is a developing country that is currently struggling to get the most out of globalization. The country is of course guided by current international laws on trade, lowering its tariff to low to moderate. According to Bautista and Thomas (2002), Zimbabwe's trade strategy is based on the CGE Model. It is a model primarily aimed at providing a policy simulation laboratory in which exogenous changes in the policy environment can be analyzed for their economy-wide effects (Bautista and Thomas, 2002). These types of models started in 1991 when Zimbabwe liberalized its trade policies. The characteristics of the trade liberalization are: removal of non-tariff barriers including import rationing; elimination of import surcharge and adjustment of tariff to low uniform rate; dismantling of foreign exchange controls and market determination of the exchange rate. But with the ever increasing prices of basic commodities, specifically oil is the trade liberalization helping Zimbabwe today? Specifically, is it helping the country with its trade relations with other foreign countries like Russia?


            The UN Millennium Development Goal has eight key goals that guide developing countries. They include: eradicating extreme poverty and hunger; achieving universal primary education; promoting gender equality and empowering women; reduce child mortality; improve maternal health; combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases; ensuring environmental sustainability; and developing a global partnership for development (UN, 2005). The last requirement, or the eight development goal, is the main concern of this study because it tells all about trade and trading policies that developing countries should adopt. It tells developing countries to create an open trading system and financial system that is compatible with today's globalization trend. This has already been followed by Zimbabwe with the liberalization of trade policies in 1991 and the adoption of the CGE model (Bautista and Thomas, 2002). Reports of economic development can basically say if such reforms are effective or not, but a rather unexplored area is its specific effects. Specifically, how did the Millennium Development Goal affect its relationship with a specific trade partner country? Russia is one of the most active countries today in terms of trade but ever since the days of the Soviet Union, it has been trading with Zimbabwe. It is a good question to ask about the development between Russia and Zimbabwe since the two countries have been trading for almost 40 years. Currently, there is no coherent and unitized record of how the trade partnership between the two has been. With the abundance, or perhaps scarcity of literature, that pertains to the trade relations between them; this study will ask the question: Did the trade relations between Russia and Zimbabwe improved since 1970?



          The study aims to investigate the improvements and changes of trade relations between Russia and Zimbabwe. With the changes in international trade policies that took place since 1970, it is interesting to explore the different ups and downs that happened between the Russia-Zimbabwe trade relationships. The following are the specific objectives the study wishes to explore:

Ø      To explore the developments of trade relationships between Russia and Zimbabwe since 1970.

Ø      To identify the effects of Zimbabwe's trade liberalization on its trade relationship with Russia.

Ø      To identify the effects of Zimbabwe's implementation of the CGE model to its trade relationship with Russia.

Ø      To identify the impact of Russia's shift to democracy on the trade relations between Zimbabwe and Russia.

Ø      Does the difference in culture between the two countries impact their trade relations?

The following objectives will be explored through secondary research on previous news, documents of the Department of Trade of Russia and literature journal articles.




            The literature review for this research will be acquired from Russia's Department of Trade and Industry, online documents from Zimbabwe government, journal articles and previous news that depict the trade relations between the two countries.

            One specific variable that will be investigated in this study is the difference of culture between the two and its impact on their trade relations. Initially, Hofstede's (1980) four value dimensions will be used, which explain differences among work-related value patterns and affect the structuring and functioning of organisations. The four dimensions are the following:

Ø      Large versus small power distance. Large power distance is the extent to which the members of a society accept that power in institutions and organisations is distributed unequally; while small power distance is the extent to which members of a society or organization accept that power is distributed fairly as employees are free to participate (Adler, 1997).

Ø      Strong versus weak uncertainty avoidance. Strong uncertainty avoidance means the degree to which the members of a society feel uncomfortable with uncertainty and ambiguity, which leads them to support beliefs promising certainty and to maintain institutions protecting conformity; while weak uncertainty avoidance is the degree to which members tend to be relatively tolerant of uncertainty and ambiguity and require considerable autonomy and lower structure (Rodriguez, 1995).

Ø      Individualism versus collectivism. Individualism is the preference for a loosely knit social framework in society; collectivism stands for a preference for a tightly knit social framework.

Ø      Masculinity versus femininity. Masculinity is the preference for achievement, heroism, assertiveness and material success; while femininity refers to a preference for relationships, modesty, caring for the weak and the quality of life.


            Secondary research will be conducted in the study. In other words, it will rely on previously written documents, news and articles. The date to which the documents are valid is from 1970 to the current date. The study will compile information, and though that, will analyze the changes and current condition of Russia-Zimbabwe trade relationship. The research will be conducted in Russia and it will specifically research the records in its Department of Trade and Industries. White papers will be compiled chronologically along with other related documents.


            The study expects that the relationship between Russia and Zimbabwe in terms of trade have improved because of the guidelines released by the UN, the change of political climate in both countries, and improvement of both countries' democratic policies, internationally and locally. This will be confirmed once the study is finished.

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