Livingstone Marufu in BULAWAYO —-
INDIAN companies are willing to help fund operations of Zimbabwean SMEs as part of efforts at forging a broad alliance with local businesses.
Local SMEs are grappling with financing and technical challenges, and lack of markets.
The Integrated Association of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises of India (I Am SME of India), which was part of the CBZ International SMEs Indaba in Bulawayo last week, said it was interested in investing in mining, agriculture, pharmaceuticals, horticulture and clothing.
Indian SMEs contribute more than 37 percent to the Asian country’s GDP.
India’s Ambassador to Zimbabwe Mr Rungsung Masakui said partnerships between Indian firms and Zimbabwean companies would help the latter with financing and market access.
“With regards to SME funding, we can collaborate and put together our resources to form a formidable business which can meaningfully contribute to the fiscus and help both parties…
“In manufacturing, we can collaborate on import substitution in promotion of the Statutory Instrument 64 of 2016 … We can have meaningful dialogue with the businesspeople here( at the Indaba) to form partnerships,” said Ambassador Masakui.
Indian companies also expressed interest in adding value to both agriculture and mining.
Africa and Asia are net losers under the current global trading regime where the United States and the European Union source get cheap raw materials from the two and then sell premium-priced processed products to the same markets.
“Why can’t we do synergies with mining and agriculture companies in Zimbabwe? … We can’t continue buying very expensive products from some European nations when we know that the ore is coming from here.
“We just have to work together in mining ,processing and add value to that mineral so that we can realise more revenues than what most companies are getting right now,” added Ambassador Masakui.
India has established an incubation centre for SMEs as part of efforts to nurture and provide the necessary training for small businesses.
Experts say local businesses can potentially tap into the Indian market, which has over one billion people, has the world’s sixth-largest economy, and is targeting to become the third-largest by 2025.