Friday 23 March 2018


President Emmerson Mnangagwa yesterday officially opened the $40 million Willowton Group’s refinery plant in Mutare and commended the company for responding to Government’s call for beneficiation of agricultural produce.

The ceremony was attended by senior Government officials and others drawn from the Mutare business community and across the country. The company manufactures soap and cooking oil although there are plans to venture into candles, margarine and rice production. 

“I would like to heartily congratulate Willowton Group following their bold and perceptive decision to invest in Zimbabwe. This new facility is indeed a demonstration of the confidence you have shown in our trade and investment climate,” President Mnangagwa said.

He said the entry of Willowton into the local market had brought healthy competition and was in sync with Government’s calls for decentralisation.

“This huge investment complements Government’s calls for value addition and beneficiation of our primary produce from the agricultural sector, such as soya beans and sunflower among others. Furthermore, this initiative is in line with the country’s economic policy which recognises the role of foreign direct investment and revival as it results in modern technology, new expertise, management practices and leadership skills,” said Cde Mnangagwa

The President said the event had been preceded by the commissioning of Nestle’ Zimbabwe’s state of the art Cremora filling and packaging plant and exposed the many opportunitites in the manufacturing sector.

“This is a very good example and success story of import substitution with the ‘Proudly made in Zimbabwe’ products. In this regard, I exhort the Buy Zimbabwe campaign team to scale up their drive and encourage the purchase of locally produced products in line with our thrust to resuscitate and re-industrialise our manufacturing sector.

“Furthermore, we should continue to eanerstly pursue our local content policy and develop agro-value chains which increase capacity utilisation and broaden the economic space through greater involvement of SMEs and entrepreneurs,” President Mnangagwa said.

He urged players in the oil expressing sector to develop well resourced soya bean outgrower schemes to increase the supply of requisite raw material.
“My Government, on its part, will continue to support the production of this essential raw material through the Command Soya Bean Production Programme,” he said.

The President reiterated that Zimbabwe was ready to engage other investors to achieve economic growth.

“As you are aware, numerous business delegations from across the world have shown great interest to invest in Zimbabwe, the latest being about 60 business executives in Kigali, Rwanda we met on the sidelines of the AU Summit on Wednesday this week.
The President is shown some of the company’s products as he tours the plant yesterday
The President is shown some of the company’s products as he tours the plant yesterday

“This is indeed ample testimony of the bright future ahead and the potential of our great nation,” President Mnangagwa said. He said Zimbabwe had so far received at least $7 billion in investment commitments since the coming in of the new dispensation, way above the $400 million that the country got annually under the old Government.

“My Government will continue to eliminate all investment impediments, bureaucratic bottlenecks, public sector lethargy, deliberate inefficiencies and corruption. Zimbabwe is open for business in all and every facet, for the ultimate good of the generality of the citizens of Zimbabwe.

“Whoever, by whatever means, decides to stand in the way, will definitely fall by the wayside,” warned the President.

Willowton Group chief executive officer Mr Bruce Henderson encouraged other players to invest in Zimbabwe.

“This is the type of investment we seek to encourage here in Zimbabwe, world class brands for Zimbabwe and the region,” he said.

Mr Henderson said they came to Zimbabwe in 2014 and production at the plant began in 2016. The company is producing 6 000 tonnes of cooking oil, 5 000 tonnes of green bar soap and 1 000 tonnes of beauty soap per month. Herald


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