Mauritian manufacturers, particularly from the textiles, furniture-making and vehicle parts manufacture sectors, have shown keen interest in investing in Zimbabwe in spite of the country’s indigenisation policies.
A group of about 20 firms from the Indian Ocean island were in Zimbabwe this week under the auspices of Enterprise Mauritius, a trade promotion organisation, scouting for various investment opportunities.
The businessmen attended a two-day buyers and sellers’ seminar held in the capital this week, where, in addition to closing sales for their products, they were looking for local joint venture partners to team up with them.
Enterprise Mauritius CEO Dev Chamroo said Zimbabwe was an interesting investment destination for his country’s business community.
“I see a new dynamism in Zimbabwe.The private sector has a positive attitude about the future and the people are willing to do business and that fits in well with Mauritius as it is a private sector-driven economy,” Chamroo said on the sidelines of the buyers and sellers’ meet.
The other Mauritian companies that were looking for local partners were in the manufacture of diverse products such as metal and steel products, wrought iron and stainless steel furniture, detergents, hardware, water supply and drainage pipes, gutter pipes, electrical conduits, and aluminum doors, windows as well as cabinets and furniture.
Others were into food manufacturing and processing, agro-processing, digital and offset printing, packaging, PVC pressure and non-pressure elbows.Asked whether his country understood Zimbabwe’s indigenisation policy, Chamroo said although Mauritius was a liberal economy, its investors fully understood the Zimbabwean policies.
“My country understands the policy of indigenisation, even though we come from a completely different economy where in the economic freedom index Mauritius is number eight in the world, “ said Chamroo.
He said the Mauritian minister responsible for trade had a chance last year to raise the indigenisation issue with Mauritian businessmen interested in investing in your Zimbabwe who said they understood why the Zimbabwe government had come up with such a policy.
Under Zimbabwe’s Indigenisation laws, foreigners are compelled to sell controlling stakes in their businesses to black Zimbabweans. The Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce (ZNCC) vice-president Davison Norupiri presented the country’s priority areas of investment to the Mauritian delegation.
He said the country’s priority sectors which needed investment were agriculture, manufacturing, mining, ICT and knowledge-based industries, energy, tourism, transport and logistics, and infrastructure.
“We invite you to partner us as we prepare for Zimbabwe’s growth take-off,” said Norupiri to the Mauritian delegation
Norupiri said there were many opportunities for investors in the manufacturing sector as local industry sought to increase capacity utilisation.
There were also opportunities to invest in distressed companies and in the manufacturing of medical drugs.
“The agriculture sector presents quick payback to investors due to the rapidity of foreign exchange generation. An investor can venture into horticulture, specifically citrus, vegetables and flowers,” Norupiri pointed out.
He explained that government was committed to formulating policies that attracted investment such as the Industrial and Trade Policy.