A high-profile German business delegation, including senior executives from the world’s largest automotive supplier Robert Bosch and global aerospace giant Airbus, was in in the country this week to explore business and investment opportunities in Zimbabwe, which have charmed global investors far and wide, with some having already committed investments running into billions of dollars, as interest in the country grows.
That Airbus, Europe’s largest aerospace company, in which Germany–alongside France–are the largest shareholders in the aircraft maker, made the delegation shows the magnitude of growing interest in the Southern African economy, which had been stunted for nearly two decades.
Siemens, which had already been doing business in Zimbabwe for many years, was also represented at round table meetings that started on Monday.
The delegation, comprising 12 “important” companies concluded its two-day visit on Wednesday after holding meetings with various Government ministries and agencies.
The business mission was organized by the Germany-Africa Association, Germany Embassy spokesperson Frank Maier told Business Weekly in an interview yesterday. The GAA is an organisation of German companies that do business with African countries.
“The companies had meetings with Zimtrade, the Zimbabwe Investment Authority and Government officials from various ministries,” said Maier. “The exercise was mainly to get presentations from the ministries but I can say there is a renewed interest.”
Germany is a highly developed first world economy, the largest in Europe and fifth in the world. Germany’s gross domestic product was $3,7 trillion in 2017.
Maier said 12 companies across different sectors of the economy including information communications technology, engineering and pharmaceuticals also sent their representatives to have an appreciation of the latest political and economic developments in the country.
ZIA chief executive Richard Mbaiwa said that the companies were exploring opportunities in energy, mining, manufacturing and equipment. “The visit was mainly to explore business opportunities in Zimbabwe in various sectors of the economy,” he said. Officials from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe were also present.
Top lawyer Muchadeyi Masunda—who gave an overview of the country’s legal framework during the meetings in Zimbabwe—described the discussions as “productive.” “They have been waiting for the situation, characterized by lack of clarity (and) inconsistency, to improve,” said Masunda.
“They are bullish about the developments taking place in Zimbabwe on the back of statements made by the President at his inauguration (and) at the Davos World Economic Forums…about Zimbabwe’s readiness for investments. I can say they are very serious.”
Other companies represented in the delegation were Drager, an international leader in medical and safety technology, Frequents, involved in communications and information solutions, Gauff Engineering AG, which specializes in the implementation of complex infrastructure projects in water, sewage, traffic and energy and HSH Global involved in e-Governance, integrated civil registrations and identifications management.
Other companies were Voith Hydro Holdings whose revenues for 2017 stood at 4,2 billion euros.