Tendai Gukutikwa Business Correspondent
German-based construction machinery and earthmoving equipment giant, Liebherr-International, has set its eyes on massive investment projects in Zimbabwe, a move which could see the company setting up its rail division in the country.
The company’s division’s project manager, Ms Dubre Muller, who visited the Minister of State for Provincial Affairs, Monica Mutsvangwa this week said the company had plans to headquarter its African rail division, Liebherr Rail Africa in Zimbabwe.
Shortlisted countries for the project in the SADC region had been South Africa, Zambia, Namibia and Zimbabwe Ms Muller, a South African based Zimbabwean, said Liebherr-International had set aside millions of Euros for the division, part of which would benefit the Zimbabwean rail industry as well as technical higher and tertiary institutions.
“The Liebherr Company wants to establish a rail division in Africa, specifically a division in the SADC region and I have chosen that they invest and headquarter the division in Zimbabwe. Obviously because I am a Zimbabwean and because of the Zimbabwe is open for business mantra,” said Ms Muller.
The company will also invest in the training of rail engineers, and was seeking to also test a new 4000 horse power diesel engine over a two year term in the country.
She said the Liebherr family representatives would come to Zimbabwe in the next few months to finalise the deal with the responsible authorities in the country. The bilateral collaboration is expected to result in a skills upgrade and contribute to the revival of the manufacturing sector.
Ms Muller said the Liebherr was also interested in skills development and up-scaling technical abilities among young people thus its focus in investing in higher and tertiary institutions. The company aims to fund the training of rail engineers and technicians as well as other engineering, technical, mining and mechanical faculties within Manicaland universities and colleges, she said. Ms Muller went on a familiarization tour to colleges and universities in the province which include Manicaland State University of Applied Sciences, Mutare Polytechnic College and Africa University. She was updated on what infrastructure the institutions lacked. Most of the colleges complained that they had no laboratory equipment for practical subjects.
The investment interest comes shortly after the publishing of the Manicaland Tourism Magazine that was officially launched last month.
Minister Mutsvangwa commended Liebherr for choosing Zimbabwe and Manicaland in particular, as an investment destination.
She said there has been a lot of goodwill since the publishing of the magazine and that the country was still looking forward to an influx of investors coming in to help resuscitate the economy.
Ms Muller was accompanied Mr Elias Masuku, the Chairman of Headlands Development Committee, which was instrumental in engaging Liebherr through Ms Muller.
“We are here to drum up support for investment in Manicaland because Manicaland is our home and to show the investors that Zimbabwe is better than anywhere else when it comes to tourism and investment,” said Mr Masuku.
He said the committee was still looking into more investment opportunities into the province.