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Billionaire extols local investment climate

A billionaire who owns the world’s second-largest bottling company of PepsiCo’s beverages in the world outside the United States and many other franchises says he will roll out more ventures in Zimbabwe because of the country’s conducive investment climate.

This comes as President Mnangagwa has called on international investors to invest in Zimbabwe whose economy is poised to grow by 7,8 percent, the highest in the region. With the Second Republic having created a conducive investment climate, investors from across the globe continue to come and Mr R Jaipurira — the chairman of R J Corp — said he is confident that his business will flourish.

“We came here in 2018 and in the last 40 years, our company has been expanding across the world.

“We are very happy with our businesses here. We are further expanding in Zimbabwe because of the investment climate, which is very favourable. We want to invest more and more in this country. The money we are making we are putting it back here,” he said.

Asked how he is faring under the burden of illegal economic sanctions that have placed a costly premium on would-be investors, Mr Jaipurira said despite hiccups they have managed to dig deep into their pockets to grow even bigger.

“Of course there is the issue of sanctions that you cannot borrow from the outside but we have been putting in our own money so we do not have any serious issues.

“Through our parent company RJcorp, we are exploring other highly diversified fields like education, healthcare and hospitality, etc, which will come a long way in supporting the Zimbabwean community,” he said.

Last week, Varun Beverages laid a foundation for a plastic closure project with a capacity to produce 500 million pieces a year, as well as another carbonated soft drink line with a capacity to produce an additional 18 million bottles a month, translating to one billion bottles per year.

Last week while speaking at the official opening of the Varun Beverages Zimbabwe Additional Plant, Bottled Water and Cordial Production Line, President Mnangagwa said the project by the Indian company dovetails with Zimbabwe’s National Industrial Policy that seeks to promote local production of goods and commodities towards decreasing reliance on imports.

“I challenge other private sector players to take advantage of our growing economy, broadening income levels and the resultant markets to increase their investments as we move the economy up the value chains,” said the President.

Describing the commissioning of the Additional Plant, Bottled Water, and Cordial Production Line as yet another milestone, itself a fulfilment of Varun Beverages’ pledge in December 2019 to expand production, the President said business confidence in the country is growing.

“I am delighted that you have fulfilled the pledge you made at that event and accordingly expanded the plant in line with your business growth strategy. My Administration welcomes this development which is an indicator of the growing confidence this entity has in our national economic trajectory and market.”

Since the coming to power of President Mnangagwa in 2017, Zimbabwe has experienced a major transformation in its political and economic environment, with his administration bringing renewed confidence as world businesses continue to heed his “Zimbabwe is Open for Business Mantra”.

Consequently, major companies have been coming into Zimbabwe where the ease of doing business has significantly improved and last week President Mnangagwa encouraged Varun Business to play an ambassadorial role in selling Brand-Zimbabwe.

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