Dubai firm agrees to invest US$100m in drugs deal

The drive to attract fresh investment continued yesterday, with Zimbabwe now set to become a hub of pharmaceutical manufacturing for national and regional consumption following the signing of a joint venture agreement between global medical consumables manufacturing giant Intrapharma and the Government.

Intrapharma, based in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), will start by investing US$100 million and gradually grow its investment in response to market demands.

Victoria Falls, a special economic zone, is likely to be the site of the factory and other company facilities.

Intrapharma joins many other global businesses and investors who have heeded President Mnangagwa’s call that Zimbabwe is open for business and the pro- investment climate that has been created.

Also from the UAE is Dubai-based billionaire Mr Shaju Ul Mulk who set his US$500 million cyber-city project in motion, with a groundbreaking ceremony having been conducted by President Mnangagwa on Wednesday.

Other existing investors have ramped up production as they demonstrate their confidence in the Second Republic led by President Mnangagwa’s ability to transform the economy and lead Zimbabwe to an upper middle income society by 2030.

Intrapharma is one of the biggest consumables manufacturers in the world and has diverse ventures across the globe.

The firm is committed to replicating its North African model in Zimbabwe.

Yesterday, Finance and Economic Development Minister Professor Mthuli Ncube led the Zimbabwean delegation during the signing ceremony.

“We are gathered here today for the signing ceremony, to sign heads of agreement between the Government of Zimbabwe and Intrapharma, for the creation of a joint venture entity that will spearhead some of the work needed in the production of drugs in pharmaceuticals,” said Prof Ncube.

“The work is needed in improving our logistics in drug distribution locally and in the region. The joint venture agreement allows us to focus on three areas: first the production of pharmaceutical products here in Zimbabwe, secondly, the distribution within Zimbabwe; then three, is the logistics hub for distribution of pharmaceutical products within the SADC region.”

Intrapharma chairman Dr Ibrahim Ramel has been impressed by Zimbabwe’s highly competent human resources, itself a key anchor in any business especially one like his requiring high levels of skills.

Also impressing Intrapharma, whose team was accompanied by UAE Ambassador to Zimbabwe Jassim Qassimi at the signing ceremony, is Zimbabwe’s strategic location and the way it will benefit from the African Continental Free Trade Area.

Among other benefits the free trade area will bring will be investors from outside Africa wanting to establish a base within the market, since rules of origin apply to where products are made, not who owns the factory.

So countries with a pro-investment climate, a large block of skilled people and a generally functioning economy are likely to see more investments flowing in.

“We are honoured to be here today, to fulfil the obligation that the countries agreed to cooperate with. It is our delight to be executing one of the national agenda items for Zimbabwe.

“We hope that the people of Zimbabwe will have a tangible result of this collaboration. We need to start gradually. We are expecting an initial US$100 million investment, but we are sure we will invest more depending on how we progress,” said Dr Ramel.

Permanent Secretary for Health and Child Care Dr Jasper Chimedza said the agreement was coming at a critical time when Zimbabwe has had some stock-out challenges for some consumables.

He hoped that some of the challenges would be addressed as the full details of the agreement come into play, with the setting up of the plant set to begin before year end.

“We are really honoured to be in this arrangement which is not only going to alleviate the stock out of medicines, but also result in us exporting medicines in the region. We hope to see the price of drugs drastically coming down,” said Dr Chimedza.

“These are world-class manufacturers coming to set-up in Zimbabwe. We have looked at all the pharmaceutical products which we are importing and we hope to start by substituting those we are importing so that our import bill, which is very high, will result in a lot of savings for the country and the money is going to be planted back into other activities.”

Dr Chimedza said Zimbabwe was “really impressed” by the quality of medicines produced by Intrapharma.

“Their products are internationally recognised,” said Dr Chimedza responding to a question about his views of the company following the tour he had of their premises in Egypt.

Intrapharma is also committed to follow an international pricing model of consumables that will see Zimbabweans buying the medical products at affordable prices.

With Government having directed Victoria Falls as a Special Economic Zone, Intrapharma has indicated that it would set up the plant in the resort city.

Vice President and Health and Child Care Minister Constantino Chiwenga met the company’s representatives in Egypt last month where he was attending the African Health Exhibition and Conference. Herald

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.