The United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) will today launch a programme to support industrialisation in Zimbabwe for the period from 2016 to 2019. UNIDO is a specialised United Nations agency headquartered in Vienna, Austria, whose primary objective is to promote and accelerate industrial development in developing countries as well as those with economies in transition and the promotion of international industrial co-operation.
The country programme would be launched in collaboration with the Ministry of Industry and Commerce. “The Ministry of Industry and Commerce in collaboration with UNIDO will be hosting a breakfast meeting Monday July 25, 2016, for the launch of a country programme to support industrialisation in Zimbabwe for the period 2016 to 2019,” an invite to the launch said.
The manufacturing sector in Zimbabwe has failed to fully recover from the economic downturn of the last decade, characterised by hyperinflation, which forced the Government to ditch the local currency in favour of the multiple foreign currencies in 2009. In the past decade, many companies closed leading to job loses as they struggled to finance operations while battling competition from cheap imported goods.
According to the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries 2015 manufacturing sector survey, industry capacity utilisation dropped by 2,2 percent to 34,3 percent in 2015 from 36,5 percent in 2014.
In the survey, in which around 250 companies participated, the CZI said issues affecting the local manufacturing industry remained unchanged since 2009 when the country adopted the multi-currency regime. Major challenges besetting industry include low domestic demand, capital constraints, antiquated equipment and machine breakdowns as well as competition from imports.
Compounding the problems were infrastructure related challenges which include power cuts, poor road infrastructure, inefficient rail network and water shortages. Infrastructure has deteriorated as a result of years of neglect due to economic challenges fuelled by Western imposed sanctions that have seen the Government investing less in rehabilitation as well as new infrastructure. — New Ziana.