General Electric comes to town
General Electric (GE) will dispatch a high-level team to Zimbabwe next month as the United States’ industrial behemoth scouts for investment opportunities in the country.
A three-man team from the group’s Southern Africa regional office is expected in Zimbabwe for a series of meetings with Government to explore possible areas of cooperation.
GE has expressed interest in energy, rail services, aviation and healthcare sectors.
GE executive director (government affairs and policy for Southern Africa) Ms Lerato Molebatsi said a team from GE will meet officials from both the Ministry of Health and Child Care and the Ministry of Energy and Power Development.
“Discussions are ongoing with various Government ministries, including the Ministries of Health and the Ministry of Energy,” she said.
“We are not yet at a stage where we can talk about specific projects as discussions are still taking place, but we are hopeful that the projects we are looking at can be announced soon.
“We will be in Zimbabwe in July for meetings with various ministries on several projects that have been put on the table.
“You may know that we have shown interest in the Batoka project and we continue to look at a number of other projects and partnerships with other developers.
“So, I will be in Zimbabwe mid-July with a few colleagues and it is only after then that we can discuss more about substantive issues.”
A consortium of GE and China Power has been awarded the tender for the US$4,2 billion Batoka Hydropower Plant being jointly undertaken by Zimbabwe and Zambia.
Speaking after a recent meeting between President Mnangagwa and GE chief executive officer for Africa Mr Farid Fezoua in Maputo, Mozambique, Finance and Economic Development Minister Professor Mthuli Ncuce said the US$120 billion-valued multinational conglomerate “is very serious about investing in Zimbabwe”.
“As you know, General Electric is a massive global company, US-based, and we have discussed different things. First of all, it was their involvement in infrastructure investment as an equipment supplier — technology supplier — this is around Hwange (Units) 1 to 4, but also around their involvement with Batoka Gorge,” said Prof Ncube.
“But also we talked about their involvement in the health sector. As you know they are a big supplier and manufacture for medical equipment globally, so they care about that sector. We would like our hospitals to be upgraded, at least the key hospitals of Parirenyatwa, Mpilo and other hospitals — at least those are the two big ones — but we would like four to five hospitals to be upgraded, so that was the nature of the discussions,” he said.
The parties also discussed about the possible exploration of methane gas deposits in western Zimbabwe that have remained unexploited, .
Prof Ncube added: “But also we discussed the gas sector because they have a strong oil and gas division. We discussed whether they could be involved in the exploration of gas in Zimbabwe as well. We have got methane gas deposits in the western parts of the country.
“So it was quite wide-ranging and they seemed to be welcoming every proposal that we put to them, and we will continue to explore the relationship with them, but they are very serious about being active in Zimbabwe.”
GE specialises in several products and services, among them aircraft engines, electrical distribution, electric motors, energy, gas, finance, healthcare, lighting, locomotives, oil and wind turbines.
GE generates more than US$100 billion in revenue annually from its global operations.
It is ranked as the world’s 14th largest company, with roughly US$365,2 billion in assets, a market value of US$261,2 billion and US$10 billion annual profits.
It has been operating on the continent for more than 100 years and has a footprint in Nigeria, South Africa, Angola, Ghana, Mozambique and Kenya.