French development agency keen to assist private sector

via French development agency keen to assist private sector | The Herald March 5, 2015

The French Agency for Development (AFD) through its subsidiary Proparco has expressed its willingness to avail more funding for the private sector after having already provided $20 million for both NMB Bank and CABS last year.

AFD is a public development finance institution that has been working to fight poverty and foster economic growth in developing countries and the French Overseas Provinces for seventy years.

The group, through Proparco, has played a fundamental role in providing funding in the private sector that has since been channelled towards small and medium enterprises develop- ment.

AFD regional director Martha Stein-Sochas, speaking after meeting Finance and Economic Development Minister Patrick Chinamasa yesterday, said her visit was to explore opportunities and better understand Zimbabwe’s investment climate.

“I am on a non-exploratory mission to better understand Zimbabwe in the correct context and I met several ministers this morning.

“AFD is following closely the negotiations between Zimbabwe and the multilateral donors, the World Bank and the IMF .We are hoping that these negotiations will be successful because they will pave the way for Zimbabwe to formally re-engage with multilateral financial institutions and bilateral such as ourselves,” said Stein-Sochas.

She said AFD is trying to better understand the situation and continues to be hopeful of the future of Zimbabwe.

“In the meantime we are taking the message back to our private sector subsidiary Proparco for them to stay engaged with Zimbabwe and ramp up their support to the private sector,” she said.

Minister Chinamasa said French companies of late have been at the forefront of visiting the country with the objective of identifying opportunities in the energy, power, infrastructure and water sectors.

A French business delegation representing about 10 big companies last month visited the country becoming one of the biggest delegations from Europe in years.

The delegation held a meeting with the Presidency, senior Government officials, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority, the Zimbabwe Investment Authority and representatives from the private sector.

Some of the companies represented included Alstom, the global leader in power generation, power transmission and rail infrastructure with operations in 100 countries. Also part of the delegation was quality inspection firm Bureau Veritas.

Recently two French companies, Egis and Vinci Construction, submitted bids to rejuvenate the country’s Kariba Dam and the transport system respectively. Egis is an international group offering engineering, project structuring and operation services. Its engineering and consulting business covers transport (roads, railways, port, and bridges), urban development, building, industry, water, environment and energy.