My Zimbabwe Businesses
“I am not a ‘Mugabe crony’. I have been imprisoned by the Zimbabwe government, had my passport seized and my farm designated. This is hardly the manner in which Mugabe treats his cronies.
As a patriotic Zimbabwean I have invested money in Zimbabwean businesses for many years, as well as other businesses in surrounding African countries. The provision of employment, to enable staff to provide for themselves and their families in difficult economic conditions, has been a primary objective of my involvement in local commerce.
My businesses in Zimbabwe included:
A cigarette factory: this manufactured cigarettes mainly for third parties who distributed them around Southern Africa
Tourism: a game lodge on Lake Kariba and another small motel
A golf club in Harare
A duty-free shop in Harare International Airport
A petroleum business, which operated petrol stations and was one of the largest oil-trading businesses in Southern Africa
A flower growing business which produced roses and proteas for the European market
Prior to the imposition of sanctions, these businesses employed some 230 people and supported approximately 1500 additional family and dependents.
All of these businesses have suffered as a result of the imposition of sanctions: some have ceased activities altogether and others have had to be mothballed. A significant reduction in the number of employees has of course led to serious consequences for them and their wider families.
I also operate a game conservancy project in Zimbabwe which supports and manages disease-free herds of rare indigenous game. This is not a commercial venture and is not economically viable. It has always required financial support from my other businesses. Any produce grown was used to feed staff and families or sold to fund the conservancy aims of the project. At its height, some 320 people were employed who in turn had approximately 2,000 family and dependents reliant on the project for their welfare. Again, the number of employees has had to be reduced.
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