SA agreement good for Bulawayo

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THE deal signed by the Zimbabwe and South African governments last week that will see the neighbouring country offering assistance to revive Bulawayo companies could not have come at a better time.

Zimbabwe’s Small and Medium Enterprises and Co-operatives Development ministry and South Africa’s Trade and Industry ministry signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to fund the revival of targeted distressed Bulawayo companies last week.

South Africa’s Trade and Industry deputy minister Elizabeth Thabethe, who led a delegation of businesspeople from her country that visited Harare, Gweru and Bulawayo in the past week, said they were targeting five companies in joint partnerships.

Bulawayo has borne the brunt of the economic problems that have weighed down Zimbabwe’s industrial sector as companies closed down or relocated to Harare.

The city has lost its status as the industrial capital of the country and its residents have suffered from massive job losses.

Zimbabwe is still an isolated country due to political disputes with the developed world and it is in that context that South Africa’s willingness to do business with Bulawayo companies should be celebrated.

Analysts say about $400 million is needed to revive Bulawayo companies and by all means this is not an insurmountable amount.

Big South Africa companies such as Group Five and Industrial Development Bank of South Africa are already visible in Zimbabwe and this would make it easier for Thabethe and her team to convince businesses that investing in Bulawayo would make sense.

South Africa remains Zimbabwe’s biggest trading partner with trade between the two countries amounting to R18, 8 billion last year, up from R16,5 in 2011.

Clearly Zimbabwe needs a lift to compete with South Africa on a level footing and it is encouraging to note that Pretoria is willing to help in that regard.

The MoU also included training and incubation programmes for small-to-medium enterprises, which is a crucial area to focus on if Zimbabwe’s economy is to be revived.

1 COMMENT

  1. Do you believe SA will help Zimbabwe to revive its industries so that we can compete with SA companies? We expect more thorough analysis of issues from your publication not this ‘sugar candy mountain’ feel good piece. Do not give the people false hope like.

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