One of Zimbabwe’s leading private investors, Adam Molai, who has a controlling stake in Savanna Tobacco says the country is open for business.
The millionaire entrepreneur, who has several business interests in tobacco, liquid fuel logistics, lubricants distribution and retailing, says he leveraged a personal friendship with India’s cola king Ravi Jaipuria to get him to invest in Zimbabwe.
Billionaire Jaipuria, who became Pepsico’s second-biggest bottler and owns Varun Beverages will invest US$30 million into the beverages industry to build a bottling plant. Molai says the project is expected to commence this September. His company which also manufactures and markets carbonated and non-carbonated soft drinks under the Pepsi brand, will also invest US$50 million within the next three-five years in a juicing plant.
The Zimbabwean entrepreneur believes the new plant will help the country, which has almost 90 per cent unemployment, create jobs.
“Zimbabwe needs employment and this is going to create about 500 jobs and about six thousand jobs downstream for distributers,” he said.
He told CNBC Africa that the weakening of most African countries presented opportunities for Zimbabwe.
“Africa is diverse and with the weakening of currencies, an economy such as Zimbabwe using dollar denominations, assets are looking a lot cheaper.”
He also said Zimbabwe could learn a lot from other countries that have gone through similar trajectories.
“We have a lot to learn from India and China as they have gone through same stage of development such as most African countries. Investors from the West do not understand Africa; they see risks where they should see opportunities.”