Egyptian investors to open fertiliser plant in Zim

The President poses with Egyptian Polyserve Company chair and managing director Dr Sheriff Gabaly (right) and the country’s Ambassador to Zimbabwe Salwa Mowafi at State House in Harare yesterday

A GROUP of Egyptian investors last night met President Mnangagwa in Harare and expressed keen interest to open a fertiliser plant in the country with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) expected soon.

As investor confidence in Zimbabwe continues to grow, the Egyptian delegation from Polyserve Fertiliser and Chemical Group said their fruitful meeting with President Mnangagwa left them motivated to speed up the investment.  

Speaking after the meeting at State House, Polyserve Group chairman Dr Sherif El Gabaly expressed gratitude to the President for receiving them.

“We have great interest to develop the phosphate fertiliser industry here in Zimbabwe. We think Zimbabwe has all the necessary ingredients to have a successful industry.

“With our experience and knowledge in this industry and co-operating with our brothers in Zimbabwe, I think we can do quite well and achieve substantial improvement on the industry of phosphate fertilisers in Zimbabwe,” he said.

Dr El Gabaly said President Mnangagwa encouraged them to forge ahead with the project.

“I think with his encouragement that gives us a bigger motivation to move faster. I think we will immediately start moving very fast, together with our Zimbabwean colleagues to start putting a MoU in place and start implementing it.

“It is not just enough to put a MoU, but what is important is to start implementing the project which we will be working on very soon,” he said.

Dr El Gabaly said according to their initial projections, Phase One was supposed to be complete in three years, but President Mnangagwa asked them to shorten that period.

“We will do our best, but our initial plan was we need three years to develop the mine and to put a new production plant on the ground. We have to do a feasibility study on the project as it will be in different phases,” he said.

In terms of the capital to be injected into the project, Dr El Gabaly said it will be revealed after consultancy work to see the magnitude of investments that will be necessary for the project.

Earlier yesterday, the Polyserve delegation met Vice President Constantino Chiwenga who assured them of Government’s full commitment to ensuring the envisaged investment would come to fruition.

The giant Egyptian company has penetrated markets in Europe, Asia, Africa and Latin America.

During the meeting with Vice President Chiwenga, Dr El Gabaly spelt out his company’s vision in the country.

The delegation’s visit to Zimbabwe comes after President Mnangagwa met his Egyptian counterpart President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi on the sidelines of the African Development Bank meetings in May.

Fertiliser manufacturing is a strategic sub-sector in Zimbabwe’s economy against the background that agriculture is one of the key pillars of the country’s economy together with other sectors such as mining and tourism.

Zimbabwe has gaps in the fertiliser manufacturing sub-sector which have necessitated duty-free imports by approved companies.

The interest by the Egyptian company will give impetus to Zimbabwe’s broader agricultural and economic development strategy.

“We discussed with the Vice President the co-operation we intend to do in Zimbabwe in the field of phosphate fertilisers,” said Dr El Gabaly after the meeting with VP Chiwenga.

“So, we have been here for the last two to three days and visited several entities regarding this phosphate and how to develop the phosphate industry in Zimbabwe.

“We will start working on that and the Vice President will appoint a working group from the Zimbabwean side to work with our side to start implementing this project which we think could make Zimbabwe a strong base for phosphate fertilisers.

“We want to be manufacturing in Zimbabwe, that is the main purpose of our visit, to manufacture in Zimbabwe in cooperation with the Zimbabwean Government,” said Dr El Gabaly.

Dr El Gabaly is also the chairperson of the African Affairs Committee in the Egyptian Parliament and in yesterday’s meeting, Vice President Chiwenga reflected on the strong relations between the two countries that date back to the days of Zimbabwe’s liberation struggle.

He said the Second Republic’s main thrust was to achieve local beneficiation and value addition at source to enhance the value chain for local, regional and international markets.

VP Chiwenga said the envisaged partnership with local fertiliser companies would be either through upgrading or replacement of new equipment as well as injection of new technology to unlock Zimbabwe’s potential to become the largest producer of basal fertiliser and make Zimbabwe a regional hub.

Herald

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