LEADING South African cement maker says it is optimistic about Zimbabwe’s economic prospects, and urged potential investors to go past media reports in evaluation the investment climate in the country.
PPC, South Africa’s largest cement maker, further said it would expand its operations in the country.
Speaking at the Zimbabwe Trade and Investment Forum in Johannesburg, PPC Zimbabwe’s Managing Director, Njombo Lucky Lekula, said the company would be involved in major construction projects, among them the country’s largest inland lake, the Tokwe-Mukorsi Dam, which located some 400 km south of the capital Harare.
PPC has two cement plants in Colleen Bawn and Bulawayo in the southern Africa country located at the border with Botswana.
These, located to serve both the Zimbabwean and neighbouring export markets such as Botswana, Zambia and Mozambique, are among the most modern in southern Africa.
The two plants produce a combined annual capacity of 760,000 tonnes of cement.
Speaking at the event organised by the Mail & Guardian Africa on Friday, Lekula said the Bulawayo plant could then produce more than 300,000 tonnes of the product per annum with clinker supplied from PPC’s South African operations.
Production increased with the installation of a new cooler and upgrades to the kiln at Colleen Bawn.
The PPC executive said contrary to media reports, Zimbabwe was among the “most peaceful country in the southern African region.”
He challenged South African companies to overcome such negative perceptions and explore opportunities in the neighbouring country.
“Do not rely on media [only] to understand Zimbabwe. Be there to see things for yourself! It is the perception being created about the Zimbabwe situation, which is exaggerated by foreign media.
“Let us build relations with our embassy in Zimbabwe in order to fully understand the situation in that country,” Lekula said.
Zimbabwe is going through challenging economic problems that have led to the closure of many companies and the loss of jobs over the years, and Harare has since April renewed efforts to breathe new life in the economy.
The country has struggled for direct foreign investment with analysts blaming this on controversial indigenisation laws, but the government says the law applies to selected sectors, like mining, a practice common in other countries..