By Mark Mhukayesango
Gweru, September 14, 2015-Industry in Gweru has lived to catch another breathe everyday as
companies continue to downsize amid tough economic conditions, but
last week following the acquisition of 60 percent of Anchor Yeast by
French company Sociètè Industrielle Lesaffre, industry here can now
hope that glory would return to the hub of manufacturing in Zimbabwe.
The deal brings so many hopes for hundreds of unemployed youths who
wonder aimlessly on the streets of Gweru as the company will be
looking at increasing the plant size, whilst attracting International
attention to the Midlands capital.
Already with employment hovering around 100 workers, Lessafre Zimbabwe
is set to increase the capacity of its plant which entails more jobs
for the unemployed graduates.
The company under its agriculture wing, Anchor Agriculture is also
looking to create 100 more jobs at Gelak farm where dairy cows will be
reared- developments which gives Gweru hope.
Radio VOP took to the streets of Gweru and spoke to residents who
expressed optimism about the future of industry here, with some hoping
that more investors would follow Lessafre’s example to invest in the
“We have not had investors coming to Gweru in a long time. So this
spells good ridden for our beloved city which used to house big
companies, employing thousands,” Mable Maunganidze, a salesperson
“We hope that all the other struggling companies like Zimglass,
ZimAlloys and Bata will find partners soon because that is the only
way industry can get back on its feet,” she said.
Lessafre will immediately inject $17,5 million earmarked for revamping
plant equipment and increasing the plant size.
Zimglass and ZimAlloys, Gweru’s major yesteryear companies have been
shut down for close to three years, whilst Zimglass the sole glass
manufacturer in Zimbabwe is failing to rise despite sitting on glass
worth $200 000.
Wisdom Mabuto , a Business Administration lecturer at Midlands State
University (MSU) said the industry needed to improve its relations
with big corporate abroad as the world is now a global village and
enables sharing of ideas.
“Anchor Yeast has shown others the example and this is commendable.
Many indigenous company owners are holding on to shares, yet their
companies are crumbling. Partnerships always produce good results,”
said Mabuto who specialized in Industrial Intelligence.
Mabuto, who once worked in industry, said the ripple effects of
investment in any particular city will be felt in the long run, but
companies should be committed to attracting investors.
Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce (ZNCC) past president Trust
Chikohora said that the deal was welcome as it has the potential of
creating new jobs , but was not enough to solve employment problems in
“Many of our students who graduate have an opportunity of working in
the yeast industry , but it is not enough because thousands more are
still roaming the streets,” Chikohora said.
He maintained that the reopening of Ziscosteel would be panacea to
industrial problems in Gweru, saying the failed deal had affected
downstream industries like ZimAlloys.
““If you can’t implement a deal that you have already signed, you are
telling the investors that Zimbabwe is a no go area. We need
Ziscosteel to be operational so that we can prove that Zimbabwe is
investor friendly,” Chikohora fumed.
By Mark Mhukayesango