Russian Vehicle Manufacturer to Partner Local Firms in Zimbabwe
Source: The Sunday Mail
Russian vehicle giant Urals Automotive Plant (UralAZ) intends to partner local firms to build a bus and truck assembling plant in the country, Industry and Commerce Minister Dr Sekai Nzenza has revealed.
This followed a visit by a Zimbabwean delegation attending the Russia International Industrial Trade Fair (INNOPROM) to the company's plant in Russia's city of Miass, Chelyabinsk Oblast, in the Ural Mountains.
The fair ended in Ekaterinburg on Thursday, The Urals Automotive Plant is a major Russian manufacturer of off-road trucks under the Ural brand.
The plant was established in 1941 when the ZiS truck plant was moved from Moscow during World War II.
The Industrial Development Corporation of Zimbabwe (IDCZ) chairperson Mr Winston Makamure, acting general manager Mr Collin Mutingwende and officials from the ministry toured the plant.
Zimbabwe participated at this year's edition of INNOPRON, which is the main industrial, trade and export platform in Russia.
Dr Nzenza led the business delegation that included officials from the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI), Zimbabwe Investment and Development Agency (ZIDA), ZimTrade, the CEO Roundtable, the Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce (ZNCC) and the IDCZ. Dr Nzenza was invited by Russia's Minister of Industry and Trade Mr Denis Manturov and was the fair's official guest.
"In line with NDS1 (National Development Strategy 1) and moving the economy up the value chain, the Ministry of Industry and Commerce has targeted 10 value chains which will drive the economy, and one of the value chain being the bus and truck where we are targeting to revamp this sector, hence our visit, " Dr Nzenza told The Sunday Mail Business.
"This company is very much willing to partner companies in Zimbabwe in revamping bus and truck sub-sector. We have agreed that in the very near future, the company will come to Zimbabwe to scout who they could join. Our deliberations were quite fruitful."
Outside Russia, the company assembles trucks and buses in Sudan while in Cuba it is assembling military trucks.
The Government is keen to revive the once-vibrant motor industry as part of efforts to promote consumption of local products.
The vehicle industry is seen as strategic in economic turnaround given its impact on job creation, value addition and contribution to economic growth. IDCZ, a State- owned entity, is already looking for partners for Willowvale Motor Industries to try and revive its fortunes.
It is looking for investors for Deven Engineering, a coach builder.
Last month, Amalgamated Bus Industries, which is made up of local bus operators and bus assemblers, signed an agreement with a Chinese company that will see the procurement of kits for local assembly
At least 500 buses are set to be assembled locally in the next 12 months, with over 10 000 jobs expected to be created.
Several other Russian companies have expressed willingness to invest in Zimbabwe's various industries as the two countries further explore areas of economic cooperation.
In 2019, President Mnangagwa met his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in Moscow, where the two leaders agreed to deepen economic cooperation between the two countries.
Russia is one of the major sources of the country's foreign direct investment, particularly in the mining sector.