West Africa: Russian Firms to Invest in Zimbabwe

Russian companies are keen to invest in Zimbabwe's various industries as the two countries further explore areas of economic cooperation, the Ministry of Industry and Commerce has said.

Zimbabwe participated at this year's edition of Russia International Industrial Trade Fair (INNOPROM) which ended in Ekaterinburg yesterday.

Industry and Commerce Minister Dr Sekai Nzenza led the business delegation, which included officials from the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI), Zimbabwe Investment Development Agency (ZIDA), Zimtrade, the CEO Roundtable, the Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce (ZNCC) and the Industrial Development Corporation of Zimbabwe (IDCZ).

INNOPROM is the main industrial, trade and export platform in Russia. Dr Nzenza was invited by Russia's Minister of Industry and Trade Denis Manturov who was also the fair's main guest.

Dr Nzenza's office told Business Weekly that Zimbabwe had fruitful engagements with Russian companies that have expressed interest in value addition of minerals such as tungsten, lithium and iron. Russian companies are also keen to explore opportunities in agro processing, phosphate, fertiliser and medical equipment as well as partnering local institutions in research and development. There is scope for technology transfer from Russia to help retooling of local companies. Given the distance between the two countries, perishability of fresh produce has been identified as a major impediment for growing exports to Russia, but the two countries have agreed to "work on that logistical challenge."

Zimbabwe is currently exporting oranges to Russia and there is potential to increase exports of commodities such as garlic, ginger, macadamia, avocado, frozen fruits and vegetables as well as blueberries.

Follow up meetings would be held between business organisations in both countries.

Last Friday, Dr Nzenza told our sister paper The Herald that the main focus participating at INNOPROM "is pushing the Zimbabwe is open for business agenda and we are quite encouraged to participate at the fair."

President Mnangagwa's administration adopted Zimbabwe is open for business policy meant to woo investors from both new and traditional markets to help revive the economy.

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