13:27 – We have come to the end of our official proceedings here in Mutare. Thank you for joining us!

13:26 – President Mnangagwa has concluded his address.

13:25 – He concludes by also congratulating Willowton Group for this milestone achievement and assuring the company that his government will continue to support them on this journey they have embarked on.

13:24 – The President has congratulated the Manicaland Province for holding the first investment conference on the 2nd of March 2018 saying the spirit and theme of that conference resonated well with the national spirit and mantra that Zimbabwe is open for business and the country’s desire to decentralise the developmental agenda to the grassroots in a bid to improve tha quality and a standard of living for all Zimbabweans. 

13: 23 – The President says whoever wants to stand in Zimbabwe’s way will fall by the wayside as the government seeks to achieve is the desire and aspirations of the people of Zimbabwe, young and old.

13:22 – He says the government will continue to work hard to reduce the time of company registration and the investor process to just 5 hours from the current 30 days.

13:21 – President Mnangagwa says “when we say Zimbabwe is open for business, people must come and see that indeed Zimbabwe is open for business.

“My government will continue to eliminate all investment impediments, bottlenecks, public sector, leakage, deliberate inefficiencies and corruption,” he says.

13:20 – Cde Mnangagwa says, furthermore this investment will result in the construction of a power plant which will feed an excess of 300 megawatts of electricity in the national grid. In terms of employment, the deal we signed yesterday will provide 15 000 direct jobs which will be created and 75 00 downstream. This capital inflow is expected to contribute 20 percent to the gross domestic product of the country and further contribute towards our vision to become a middle income country with increased investment, decent jobs, empowerment, free from poverty and corruption by 2030. 

“With this new dispensation and thrust for economic growth and the liberalisation of doing business, the ease of doing, in less than four months and by yesterday we have succeeded now $7 billion worth of investment commitments in the country. Yet in the past, if we did well we would have something over $400 million a year,” he says.

13:19 – The President says this investment deal will among other things see Zimbabwe having the best metal refinery which brings value addition and beneficiation in the mining industry.

13:18 – He says the country has signed a $4.2 billion deal in that vein.

“Since we said Zimbabwe is open for business, Harare is flooded with investors coming from all over the world that even the hotels space is insufficient and ministers are kept working, no more 8-4pm. They must work, work and work,” says President Mnangagwa. 

13:17 – He says this is indeed testimony to the bright future ahead and the potential of Zimbabwe.

“Our country is primed for economic growth and success is inevitable. Let us run the race and reach the goal, for i have said Zimbabwe should be a middle income country by the 2030,” he says adding that numerous business delegations from across the world have shown great interest to invest in Zimbabwe the latest being about top 60 business executives in Kigali, Rwanda on the sidelines of the extraordinary AU Summit on Wednesday this week. 

13:16 – Cde Mnangagwa says holistic and sustainable economic growth and the rebirth of Zimbabwe cannot be achieved in isolation but will flourish out of unity of purpose and team work.

“My government will continue to support the production of this essential raw material through the command soya bean production programme,” he says.

13:15 – He further challenges stakeholders in this sector to coach the seed growers to graduate so that they grow from being just SMEs to large enterprises.

13:14 – The President has urged players in the sector to expand and develop robust well resourced soya bean outgrower schemes to increase the supply of the deficit input to this refinery plant.

“As we were touring the plant, all the machines we saw here were made here in Mutare and we feel proud of the state of the art expertise which is resident here and we urge our people to continue to acquire and advance ourselves with modern technology and expertise,” he says. 

13:13 – Furthermore, we should continue to earnestly pursue our local content policy and develop agro-value chains which increase capacity utilisation and broadens the economic space through greater involvement of SMEs and entrepreneurs.

13:12 – Cde Mnangagwa says he exalt the Buy Zimbabwe team to charm and encourage the purchase of locally produced products in line with the country’s thrust resuscitate and industrialise the manufacturing sector.

13:11 – With regards to this investment, President Mnangagwa says “the increased supply of cooking oil in stock will go a long way to save the the much needed foreign currency and is also a very good example of import substitution with proudly Zimbabwe made products is of interest to date upon commissioning this plant,” noted Cde Mnangagwa.

13:10 – “In addition i am happy that the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe recently availed a revolving facility of US$100 million through ZimTrade to encourage companies embrace the export oriented and import substitution strategy in line with our industrial development policy as a region,” he says.

13:09 – Cde Mnangagwa says his government is on course to streamline and simplify import and export linkages rules and procedures in the spirit of SADC, COMESA, and the new AfCFTA. 

13:08 – “I further urge you to use the market which exist beyond our borders. I have realised that most African countries import both raw materials and finished products for this oil expressing sector, but if we share the advantages and opportunities we have on the African continent we should be able not only to service our continental market but we should also be able to export to the global market,” he says. 

13:07 – The President says with focus, purpose and direction he has no doubt that in the next four to five years down the line Africa will be a significant global player in the global market.

13:06 – He says recently in Kigali, Rwanda where the farming operations signed the African Continental free Trade Area, the continent (Africa) seeks to develop modernised, mechanised trade and commerce within the continent and link the advantages between products and services that are valuable within the continent. “We now realise that the continent has about 1.2 billion people and that is a huge market,” he says.

13:05 – Cde Mnangagwa says Willowton is 300km away from the Beira port and has encouraged the company to use its proximity to the port to export products to continental and global markets.

13:04 – Following his re-engagement visits to Zambia, Botswana, DRC, Mozambique, South Africa and Angola, the President says he was delighted to note the tremendous market potential for Zimbabwean products.

13:03 – “I’m informed that you have the capacity to produce high quality cooking oils products which can compete internationally. Therefore i i invite more private sector investment into our agro industry and agro-based sector which is accompanied by the appropriate technological expertise which is in line with our modernisation drive,” he says.

13:02 – He says this initiative furthermore is in line with the country’s indigenisation policy which recognises the role of foreign direct investment in Zimbabwe’s economic resuscitation and revival as it results in modern technology, expertise management practises and leadership skills . 

13:01 – “This huge investment compliments government’s call for value addition and beneficiation of our primary produce from the agricultural sector such as soya beans and sunflower among others,” he says.

13:00 – The President says he looks forward to see Willowton Group extend its operations to other communities in Zimbabwe for the betterment of the country and revival of the country’s industries which had collapsed of late.

12:59 “Additionally Willowton’s strategic location in Mutare is in sync with government’s exhortation to industry to descend on the peripheries of the country is in the best interests to industrialisation and creation of provincial and rural industry systems which will in turn help in the growth of distinct provincial gross domestic product which meaningfully contributes to the national gross domestic product in the respective provinces,” he says.

12:58 – He says this huge investment compliments government’s efforts in growing the economy and it will in turn grow Zimbabwe’s gross domestic product. “The coming on board of Willowton Zimbabwe has therefore brought a health competition based in oil expressing and soap producing industries in our economy,” he says.

12:57 – He says Willowton was among the first companies which positively responded to the export oriented and import substitution policy pronouncement. 

12: 56 – The President noted that having being found in South Africa in 1970 by the Moosa family, Willowton Group is now operating in Zimbabwe and Zambia.

12:55 – He says this new manufacturing facility is indeed a demonstration of confidence shown in the trade and investment climate in Zimbabwe.

12:54 – He starts by congratulating Willowton Group for this milestone achievement following the bond and perceptive decision to invest in Zimbabwe.

12:52 – President Mnangagwa is now giving his address.

12:51 – He says the President has spearheaded several projects in Zimbabwe among them the command agriculture programme which ensured the country is self food sufficient, as he invites Cde Mnangagwa to address the gathering here.

12:49 – This is a clear testimony of industrial development in the country, noted Cde Mumbengegwi. 

12:47 – Cde Mumbengegwi added that the President recognises the role the private sector plays in trying to build the economy of the country.

12:46 – He says Cde Mnangagwa is an esteemed leader.

12:44 – Honourable Simbarashe Mumbengegwi is now on the podium to introduce the guest of honour at the event, His Excellency the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe Cde Emmerson Mnangagwa. 

12:42 – He added that the plant will live to its billing thus to produce quality products and as well will enhance economic growth for the country.

12:39 – Mr Henderson says their refinery plant can produce up to 6 000 tonnes per month.

12:37 – He says the commissioning of the plant is a milestone achievement adding that it will reduce the unemployment rate in the area and country at large.

12:34 – The Willowton Zimbabwe chief executive officer Mr Bruce Henderson now takes to the podium to give his remarks.

President Mnangagwa tour Nyakamete industrial area

11:41 – President Mnangagwa first got into a briefing before going for the tour.

11:38 – They are going for a tour of the plant.

11:36 – President Emmerson Mnangagwa has arrived here at the Nyakamete industrial area for the official commissioning of the Willowton Mutare Refinery Plant.


  • Willowton company manufactures a wide range of products, which include edible oils, margarines and spreads, toiletries, laundry and bathing soaps, candles, chocolates, baking and industrial fats.
  • The construction of the $40 million plant in Mutare by a South African company Willowton was completed in 2016.
  • Willowton, which operates three plants in South Africa produces the popular D’lite cooking oil brand.
  • The project is expected breathe life in Mutare’s business sector.
  • In 2014, Government imposed import restrictions on cooking oil with locally manufactured products now occupying about 95 percent of local supermarket shelf space.