WHEN a development of this magnitude happens in our economy, we rejoice. Davipel team, this is indeed a big milestone achievement we as the private sector and industry representatives are incredibly proud to be here today to witness the official opening of a world-class snacks manufacturing company.
The Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce is super proud of this official opening too, as, the founder and the managing director of Davipel is the immediate past president of the ZNCC, whose shoes I got into myself.
The expansion we are witnessing here today is in tandem with our Chamber’s 2018 theme that says “Enterprise Development, Corporate Entrepreneurship, and Sustainable Growth”
Indeed, we have watched this company grow from strength to strength over the years. I do remember going to Davipel’s previous factory five years ago, and, today witnessing this phenomenal growth, which has been sustained during a difficult economic environment of the past.
During the last decade, Zimbabwe had undergone de-industrialisation that had seen a decline in local production and exerted pressure on Zimbabwe’s economy, negatively impacting employment and economic growth. This was also attributed, partly, to imports of substandard goods at low prices compared to local goods.
Despite this, business remained resilient including Davipel. Davipel performance history has been tremendous as it has grown from being a small business, which began at a backyard in a garage, to what it is now and is one of the organisations that has benefited from SI64 of 2016, now SI 122, meant to protect local industries with capacity to satisfy domestic demand as well as solve foreign currency problems caused by externalisation of foreign currency.
Today, we witness a magnificent plant using exceptional food processing technology. Food processing is regarded as a priority industry due to its enormous impact and significance in the development and industrialisation potential in Zimbabwe and in Africa.
As industry we commend government for policies which support industry so that business continues to be at the heart of our economic transformation. Let me also take this opportunity to say, while the new dispensation has been on the drive to market Zimbabwe for FDI under the mantra “Zimbabwe is Open for Business” Business is of the view that while there is need to emphasize on attracting FDI, equally there is need to support local investment, hence there is need to promote and also offer preference to local potential investors as well. Davipel is a perfect example to show that given enough support, by addressing challenges weighing on business, as business, we are up to the task.
The official opening of Davipel serves to highlight the need for various businesses to follow suit and implement systematic processes that address the key elements of business development, growth and competitiveness.
The balance between protectionism (import restrictions) and trade liberalisation in an economy is a demanding task, yet, very imperative to industrial growth. The SI 64 which is now 122 is meant to protect local players, and, Davipel and other companies have to take cognisant of that especially those in the manufacturing sector.
As industry in Zimbabwe, we gladly welcomed SI64 and it was going to be a great shame to us, and the government if companies like Davipel did not take it upon themselves to run with that window of opportunity.
What is important to note is the fact that, with policies that seek to ensure the growth of local companies and our government’s clarion call for Special Economic Zones, failure is not an option for local companies.
Davipel is one of the first local companies to catch the special economic zones vision by the Government, and, we therefore urge the government to nature it.
Davipel’s expansion is a sign of the new impetus on investor confidence, which is now enabling business growth. It is living testimony of the strides being taken under the new dispensation to ‘’Zimbabwe is Open for Business.”
As industry leaders, we take pride in seeing local businesses grow and thrive as these ideals are at the core of our being and becoming as business member organisations working with our constituency, the private sector.
So, being here today and seeing this means a lot to us in our quest as home grown businesses, because, we are certain that, if local players like Davipel are expanding like this, it is but a clear message to the world that Zimbabwe means business, and growth is possible. Davipel’s expansion debunks the myth which has lingered over the world on the business environment in Zimbabwe.
Let us work together and complement our government’s efforts, and, with that relationship in place, sustainable economic development becomes a reality for all.
Can I take this opportunity to thank His Excellency, the President Emmerson Mnangagwa and his government for providing the necessary measures to allow companies like Davipel to grow; however, we take cognisant that there is need to have timelines to these measures as we belong to the club nations where we need to play our part in the global economy.
*An edited version of the solidarity message delivred by ZNCC president Divine Ndhlukula at the launch of the Agri-Milling Plant and the corn snack manufacturing plant.