A SOUTH African embassy business delegation was in Bulawayo last week to gather data on manufacturing companies in the city for possible partnerships with investors in the neighbouring country.
The visit coincided with the highly subscribed Zimbabwe International Trade Fair, whose record breaking participation is viewed as confirmation of renewed investor confidence in Zimbabwe.
In an interview yesterday, Association for Business in Zimbabwe (ABUZ) chief executive, Mr Victor Nyoni, said the delegation took a tour of three companies — Lobels Biscuits, Carousel and Kershelmar Dairies, which they also pledged to sponsor to exhibit at the South African trade showcase later this year.
“We went to Lobels Biscuits, Carousel and Kershelmar Dairies. They wanted to look at companies that are in the manufacturing sector, which they will invite to their own manufacturing sector show that will take place sometime in November this year,” said Mr Nyoni.
“The embassy was here to pick up all the relevant information which they will forward to their investment database in South Africa for the crop of investors who will then come here and look into how they will work with our own companies.
“So these companies have been identified and they have already indicated that they will invite them and pay for their accommodation.”
Mr Nyoni said the interest shown in Bulawayo was a huge endorsement of the city’s companies as industry seeks to restore yester-year pride as the manufacturing hub. South Africa is one of the country’s largest trading partners as it accounts for 41 percent of the country’s imports and 63 percent of the total number of exports.
According to ABUZ, the visit by the delegation demonstrates a realisation by investors that the city has great potential, infrastructure and is rich in human capital.
This is despite the fact that the city has undergone over two decades of de-industrialisation, which saw many companies folding and some migrating to Harare.
“This is an opportunity for Bulawayo companies and confidence being shown by investors to partake in the economic activities in this city. There is a realisation that there is infrastructure and skill that can be tapped into in our manufacturing sector,” said Mr Nyoni.
“What needs to be done is to deal with retooling. Bulawayo is being viewed by investors as a market for growth.”
Since President Mnangagwa took over as the country’s leader, Zimbabwe has received positive international response. Last month, a European Union delegation was in the country and indicated that it was ready to work with the new Zimbabwe Government in formulating policies that will enable it to turn around the country’s economic fortunes.
Again, a Chinese delegation from the National Reform and Development Commission (NRDC) visited the country where it met Government officials and representatives from the country’s three Special Economic Zones (SEZs) to work on ways to expeditiously activate the designated zones that are widely expected to grow the economy. — @PrinceNkosy102