ZIMBABWE – Diamond mining is government business and considered hands-off for private investors but if you want to add value, you’re welcome to do business in Zimbabwe, President Robert Mugabe told a group of Indian investors on the sidelines of India-Africa Forum Summit, underway in New Delhi, Zimbabwe Herald reports.
At least 21 Indian companies expressed interest in doing business in Zimbabwe in areas of mining, power generation, agriculture, irrigation development and medical tourism, according to the report.
One of them is Sanjay Kirloskar, chairman of Kirloskar Brothers, a company that does large-scale irrigation development.
Kirloskar told The Herald he was impressed by Mugabe’s presentation. It included a historical background of Zimbabwe that gave investors an appreciation for what the country has to offer. “President Mugabe encouraged us to come and invest in Zimbabwe and we now have a better understanding of investment opportunities in your country,” he said.
Mugabe painted a picture for investors of vulnerability, according to the report. He said, “We are a small country with only 14 million people and demographically we can be described as a small child who is growing in the context of the world where there are huge countries like India, China, Indonesia, America and others,” The herald reports.
Mugabe promoted the country’s 68 different minerals. “During colonialism, gold was the main mineral, with others like chrome, iron, copper, coal and asbestos, but now we have discovered that we have diamonds and platinum,” Mugabe said. “I think we have ample opportunities to those who want to undertake mining in our country.”
Just not diamond mining. That’s for Zimbabwe, Mugabe said.
The focus now for Zimbabwe is on finding investors who want to add value to minerals, Mugabe said. He said the country adopted a Look East Policy after he realized that the former colonisers still wanted to control Zimbabwe’s resources.
He also encouraged Indian firms to invest in Zimbabwe’s financial sector and in agriculture.
Zimbabwe’s foreign direct investment increased from $400 million US in 2013 to $545 million US in 2014, driven by interest in mining, infrastructure and services, World Bank reported Tuesday, according to The Independent. At less than 5 percent of the country’s gross domestic product, FDI in Zimbabwe still lags behind regional rivals.
World Bank’s Doing Business report tracks regulatory and bureaucratic systems of countries globally.
Zimbabwe’s global ranking improved in 2014 on the Ease of Doing Business index, climbing 16 places to No. 155 out of 189 countries.
Bilateral trade between Zimbabwe and India is around $133 million while Indian investments into Zimbabwe are worth less than $50 million, said Nhau George Chistinde, vice chairman of the Zimbabwe-India Chamber of Commerce.
“With Zimbabwe following, of late, a ‘Look East Policy,’ India is now looked upon as an important trading as well as business partner,” he said, according to a report by TheHerald in AllAfrica.
These are some Indian companies, public and private, that have done business in Zimbabwe, according to TheHerald:
- Indian Railway Construction Company
- Rail India Technical Economic Services
- Water and Power Consultancy Services
- Telecommunications India Ltd.
- Kirloskar and Jain Irrigation have supplied pumps and irrigation equipment.
- Ranbaxy and lpca Labs Ltd. have established business relations in the Zimbabwean health sector.
- Indian pharmaceutical company, Shreya, invested $1 million in the largest pharmaceutical company of Zimbabwe.
- Chadha Power of India won a contract in 2008 to refurbish four units at the Hwange Thermal Power Station.
- Surface Investment set up a multi-seed edible oil producing plant near Harare with $1.5 million investment in a joint venture between Midex Global Pvt Ltd., Indore and Industrial Development Corporation of Zimbabwe.
- Graffax Cotton Pvt Ltd, a foreign-owned EPZ company, invested $2.5 million. It has two cotton-ginning plants in Zimbabwe and plans to install a spinning project to process lint into yarn and fabrics and an oil extraction/solvent plant.
- PM Electronics exports transformers to Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority. It also has a technology transfer agreement with ZESA for a transformer manufacturing project in Harare.
- Apollo Tyres invested $200 million in Dunlop South Africa, whose subsidiary is Dunlop Zimbabwe.
- Technofab Engineering Ltd., Delhi got orders worth $30 million to rehabilitate water supply and sewage systems in six Zimbabwean cities.
- Angelique International Ltd. Delhi won a government contract for an emergency power infrastructure rehabilitation project in 2013. The project was funded by a multi-donor fund administered by African Development Bank. The project was completed in July 2014.