A fresh sortie of foreign buyers are aiming for their own chunk of the Zimbabwean industrial and mining market, with the latest confirmation coming from the French embassy hosting a delegation of three French companies at the embassy tomorrow Wednesday.
“We are privileged to hold an event of this stature and we look forward to welcoming everyone to a successful event,” Anne-Sophie Ouedraogo, programme officer at the embassy, told The Afronews.
Verlinde Cranes and Hoists, Motul Lubricants and Manitou Equipment are coming together at the French Ambassador’s residence for the official launch of all their three products, a first for Zimbabwe.
Zimbabwe is a country facing many economic and political challenges. For example, the economy is in the throws of a crippling and stubborn liquidity crunch and the government is struggling to lure foreign investors to commit much-needed direct foreign investment – until now.
Still, many foreign investors and experts now view the country as one of the most promising “emerging markets” of the second decade of the millennium.
According to the embassy this is the first time that a number of French companies are coming to Harare, says Anne-Sophie Ouedraogo, programme officer at the embassy.
“We see this as an excellent time to be coming to the party in Zimbabwe,” adds an official at the embassy.
Giving a breakdown of the companies, the embassy disclosed that “increasingly, they are getting enquiries from investors looking at Zimbabwe as a potential business location.
“Interest from companies in France is strong and there are some excellent ready-to-come players available, particularly for those who looking at the long-term,” he adds.
Verlinde and Hoists is France’s leading producer and exporter of hoisting and handling equipment and was founded in 1858 and offered the French Navy and army engineering a revolutionary “endless screw hoist.”
In 1918, with electrification in its early days, Verlinde was the first French constructor to design and market electrically powered winches and hoists.
Verlinde has a department in South Africa that offers made to measure hoisting solutions and is exclusively dedicated to a network of dealers across the continent.
Verlinde has entered Zimbabwe through Kromona Investments and is prepared for this unchallenged market with support from South Africa and France.
Another big entity is Motul, a world-class French company specialized in the formulation, production and distribution of high-tech engine and industry lubricants. Unanimously recognised for more than 150 years for the quality of its products, innovation, capacity and involvement in the field of competition, Motul was the first lubricant manufacturer to pioneer the formulation of a 100% synthetic lubricant and 300V lubricant, making use of Ester technology issued from the aeronautical industry from as early as 1971.
An industry leader in synthetic lubricants, Motul brings it’s highly recognised and sort after high performance oils and fluids. The worldwide company implements a permanent modernisation policy to remain at the cutting edge of technology and to preserve its leading position in a highly competitive market.
The last of the three companies at the launch is Manitou, established in 1958 based on the idea of ‘’Marcel Braud’’, the world’s first rough terrain forklift.
Manitou has provided to its customers around the globe for over 40 offers the solution to all rough terrain material handling and telescopic units in the construction, mining, forestry, farming, brick plants and the sugar industry.
Ganthorpe Enterprises is a wholly owned Zimbabwean company formed in 1998 that recognised a business opportunity within Zimbabwe for the supply of forklift equipment. In 2009 Ganthorpe became a Zimbabwean dealer for the forklift range and in 2010 was appointed dealer for the complete rough terrain Manitou range.
Several local business people expressed optimism this was the beginning of better things for the industrial and manufacturing sector.
“If you didn’t really have people believing the Zimbabwean business investment story, you wouldn’t have them coming,” Brian Sibanda, a local businessman with interests in the road construction and infrastructure development sector. “I think it’s a testament that maybe some of the worst fears are overblown.”
By Patrick Musira