By Stanley James, Business Editor
FRENCH-based firms operating in Zimbabwe have pledged commitment to expanding existing units while also embarking on new projects.
The commitment by the French firms was confirmed during the Paris Club Forum where government officials held business discussions with representatives of French-owned firms operating in Zimbabwe at the weekend.
It is, however, the commitment by the French firms to continue expanding their business units that has excited government.
Zimbabwe Investment and Development Agency Acting Chief Executive Officer, Mrs Duduzile Shinya outlined how French firms have played an important role in overall economic development.
“The business portfolio by the French investors on Zimbabwe is highly commendable as our statistics show that France has also had several approved projects in different sectors of the economy, so it is their ability to continue operating in Zimbabwe that also sends signals about the steps being made to stimulate growth,” she said.
Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce Past President Mr Luxon Zembe weighed in saying the commitment by French firms to consolidate their portfolios in the country is a vote of confidence on the reengagement drive.
“Indeed, there are several French based companies in Zimbabwe. The key point is all about their ability to operate in the country that also sends positive indications to other would be investors from that European economy,” he explained.
The Paris Club Forum held under the banner of the Movement of the Enterprises of France, MEDEF ,which is the largest private sector arm of French-based entities, created a platform for Zimbabwe to provide presentations on current state of the economy and business opportunities.
French-owned firms in the country own business portfolios in the fields of agro-processing, retail and distribution, construction, finance and trade, among others.
Examples of firms in which the French investors own significant shareholding include Proparco, Total Energies, Seedco, Bureau Veritas and Anchor Yeast.
The government has introduced several measures aimed at assuring external business people that their projects are safe and viable.