President commends talented young people
Zvamaida Murwira in KWEKWE
ZIMBABWE is poised to be at the apex of development given its rich pool of talented youths in various fields like engineering who have put shoulders to the wheel in transforming the country towards an upper middle class economy by 2030, President Mnangagwa has said.
Taking advantage of the conducive business environment that has been created by the Second Republic, a number of talented young Zimbabweans have returned home from abroad where they were based to set up businesses locally.
Briefing journalists in Kwekwe after touring IntraChem explosives manufacturing plant and Dendairy to have an appreciation of investments they have made in modern equipment, President Mnangagwa said he was delighted with the response to Government’s industrialisation and modernisation agenda by young people .
“We are extremely excited and what makes us happy as Government is the response we are getting from our people, especially the younger generation.
“The companies are embracing the concept of science and technology and innovation in enhancing Government’s vision.
“I believe that the younger generation has so much talent to develop their nation. In another five to 10 years from now, Zimbabwe will be totally different and it will be at the apex. I do not know which country will compete with us at the speed at which we are developing.”
President Mnangagwa said IntraChem was being run by young people who were impressed by the policies of the Second Republic.
IntraChem was formed from the ashes of a company, which was also into explosives, but ran into financial and management challenges.
“I think in future we need to look into it through the Ministry of Industry and Commerce (helping IntraChem). The new company that has come in is predominantly run by young engineers from this country who are responding to the Second Republic’s call for value addition and producing services and goods for our needs.
“That feeds into our vision to industrialise and modernise our economy. I was so pleased that these young men who were working in South Africa decided to come back because of the environment we have created. They set up a factory worth US$7 million but they are also expanding,” said President Mnangagwa.
“They are saying the market is huge, they are unable to satisfy it. They are also covering countries like the Democratic Republic of Congo and Zambia in terms of their export market. We have told them that we will do our best as Government to support them to expand.”
The President said the company’s products are of excellent quality and state of the art.
Turning to Dendairy, President Mnangagwa said he was close to the founder of the business, the Coetzee family, whom he has known for more than 30 years.
“They were the biggest dairy farmers in the Midlands province. During that time, Dairiboard was the only dairy producing company, producing limited products. We knew that there were many other products that could come from milk.
“I am happy that they (Dendairy) are now producing so many products, some of which are specific to consumers like those for children. That is critically important, that is serving communities,” he said.
“There is state of the art technology at Dendairy, some imported from Germany and elsewhere but it’s top notch and automated.”
Lands, Agriculture,Water, Fisheries and Rural Development Minister Dr Anxious Masuka commended Dendairy, describing it as the fastest growing dairy company in the country.
“The national demand for milk is 120 million litres annually and we are producing 80 million litres leaving a shortfall of 40 million litres which is met through imports.
“They have now invested in increasing their herd. They are milking 1 200 cows and they have an investment in Chilonga, Chiredzi where we think the cost of pastures can be reduced,” said Minister Masuka who is also Acting Minister of State for Provincial Affairs and Devolution for the Midlands province.
“I expect that by 2024, we will be able to produce 120 million litres per year to meet our national demand. From a provincial perspective, Dendairy is a very important agro concern contributing to provincial Gross Domestic Product and also national economic growth.”
Industry and Commerce Minister Dr Sekai Nzenza said the country was on course to achieve its industrialisation targets.
“What we saw today is the realisation of the President’s vision to industrialise, modernise, bring technology, create employment and value addition. He is saying let’s promote local products using science, innovation and technology.
“The key element at the two companies is that they are expanding, meaning there is increased industrialisation, productivity and use of technology”.
Dendairy managing director Mr Darren Cotzee said they have invested more than US$20 million into their plant.
“Recently we had an upgrade of US$3 million to automate the equipment, that is what everybody saw today. The business environment is now stabilising, we hope it will continue to do so,” said Mr Coetzee.
IntraChem managing director, Mr Langton Nyandoro, said their firm has Zimbabweans as majority shareholders with a minority technical partner.
“IntraChem has transitioned from being a net importer of explosives to a local manufacturer. IntraChem embarked on local manufacturing as a local content strategy in support of Government policies,” he said.
Mr Nyandoro said their Phase Two plant had just been commissioned with capacity to assemble in excess of 12 million detonators a year.
“IntraChem has clear plans for another 2 phases of expansion to increase the explosives products to be locally produced as it continues with the import substitution drive,” he said.
Meanwhile, community members in and around Kwekwe were happy about the industrial expansion taking place in their area.
A local small-scale miner, Mr Nicholas Magura, said production of explosives locally helps in reducing costs.
“Our competitiveness is under threat when explosives are imported. With the local production of explosives, it means they will be cheaper,” said Mr Magura.
Another miner, Mr Panashe Rusere, said infighting among miners, particularly artisanal miners, will be contained by the reduction of costs for explosives.
“We have had squabbles and fighting among miners as they will be trying to elbow each other out of those lucrative claims which do not require use of explosives owing to their costs. With the production of explosives locally, that will come to an end,” said Mr Rusere.
A dairy vendor, Mrs Veronica Muchuchuti, said they were happy with new investments at Dendairy.
“I have been sending my children to school with the work I am performing at Dendairy. With this continued investment, better times are beckoning,” she said.