Zim set to lose US$100 million as Astro mobile company leaves country.

“The move by the government to put spanners in Astro Mobile’s quest to set up a first-of-its kind in Africa manufacturing plant in the country is contrary to the mantra of ‘Zimbabwe is open for business’ and the Buy Zimbabwe Campaign that seeks to empower locals.

Astro MobileZimbabwe is set to lose close to US$100 million worth of exports annually after Astro Mobile failed to get support to set up a manufacturing plant in the country but was instead welcomed in Zambia.

“When I heard that Astro Mobile had been given the green-light to set up a plant here in Lusaka Zambia, I told myself that Zimbabwe had unwittingly allowed a golden opportunity to skip them. We have serious foreign currency challenges in our country and the expectation would be for the authorities to embrace locals with a vision of industrialising the country like Mr. Munyaradzi Gwatidzo, the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Astro Mobile. Alas, to my surprise, I heard the entrepreneur was not given any meaningful support by the government for the last two-and-a-half years.

This is despite the fact that the company had brought the equipment into the country,” said Joseph Zulu, a telecoms engineer from Zimbabwe based in Lusaka. Engineer Sam Kundishora, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Information confirmed that indeed Astro Mobile had approached his office with a similar request.

“Indeed Astro Mobile through its CEO Mr Munyaradzi Gwatidzo came to my office with a request to set up a state-of-the-art mobile manufacturing plant that would have been the first of its kind in Africa. I tried my best to assist him, but it’s still work in progress,” Said Eng. Kundishora.

Reports by Spiked news suggest if the company had set up in Zimbabwe, it had potential to generate 800 jobs directly and more than 10 000 other jobs indirectly.

The business would have the opportunity to generate up to US$1 billion from experts in the next five years since the company is looking at setting up distribution centres in 40 countries over the next five years.

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