More French companies have shown interest in investment opportunities in Zimbabwe after Harare demostrated willingness to engage its international creditors.
French Ambassador to Zimbabwe Laurent Delahouse told businessdigest on Tuesday in an interview in the capital that companies from his country would soon visit the country. The planned visit come at a time Zimbabwe is looking at modalities to amortise its debts and arrears to international creditors.
Delahouse said French companies were thrilled with his presentation two weeks ago in Paris chronicling government’s engagement policy and strategies of clearing arrears, ongoing reforms on the ease of doing business as well as the success stories of French companies currently operating in the country. Companies representing key sectors of the economy namely finance, agro-based industry, manufacturing, mining, transport and infrastructure development are interested in investing in the country through public and private partnerships.
“I hope we can have new French companies visiting the country soon and some are already in contact with authorities here. It’s difficult to announce at the moment when they will come. Some of them may come in the next few months,” Delahouse said. In January this year a delegation consisting of French 10 companies was in the country to scout for investment opportunities. The visit saw Bureau Veritas, one of the visiting companies, signing an import quality control deal with the government of Zimbabwe in March.
He said a French poultry company with footprints in West Africa was currently in negotiations with an unidentified local poultry rearing company for a possible partnership deal. Three French companies had already bid for the rehabilitation of the Kariba Dam such as the plunge pull and eroding doors which have since accumulated rust using financing availed by World bank. French companies Limagrain and Lesafre recently injected US$40 million and US$18 million in local firms Seedco and Anchor Yeast respectively.
Other French companies in the country include Lafarge cement, Oil firms Total and Sanof with interests in pharmaceuticals.
“My plea to them was to say if you want to invest in Zimbabwe come now. It does not mean they can come now but of course they need to see rule of law and amendments to the indigenisation. It’s true that the investment climate is not perfect but our mission is to give the right image and dispel wrong analysis about the country. It’s true the country does have a wrong image but it does not reflect the Zimbabwe of today may be it matches that of 2007 and 2008,” he said.