John Deere expands construction equipment portfolio into Zimbabwe, other African markets

John Deere is expanding its construction equipment line-up to 18 countries, including Zimbabwe, where Deere-branded construction products were previously not available.

The company already supplies farm equipment to Zimbabwe, and in 2019 tied up a US$51 million supply deal in the country. But this would be the first time that John Deere supplies construction equipment into the Zimbabwean market.

“This expansion provides an opportunity for us to increase our global footprint in the construction industry, as we build upon our existing presence in Africa and deliver our product portfolio under the John Deere brand for the first time to these key markets,” Jaco Beyers, managing director for John Deere Africa Middle East.

John Deere’s range includes backhoe loaders, excavators, wheel loaders, motor graders, and crawler dozers. These will be sold and supported by John Deere dealers in the targeted African countries, which apart from Zimbabwe also include South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Zambia, Mozambique, Angola, Malawi, Tanzania, Rwanda, and others.

“We have a deep-rooted presence in Africa in the agriculture market, and we know construction customers in these markets are eager for access to the John Deere brand and its many advantages”, said Griffiths Makgate, sales manager, John Deere Construction & Forestry, John Deere Africa Middle East. “By providing access to our high-quality equipment, outstanding dealer network and parts availability, and productivity enhancing technology solutions, we can help operators in Africa increase productivity and boost their bottom lines on a daily basis.”

Among existing large construction equipment brands in Zimbabwe are Catapillar, which is distributed by Barzem, a unit of ZSE-listed Zimplow.

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Zimbabwean construction companies are looking to take advantage of government’s increased infrastructure spending. A total of ZWL$139.8 billion will be spent on the 2021 infrastructure investment programme, which includes roads, dams, housing and public buildings.

Firms such as Masimba, PPC and Lafarge reported strong earnings in the last half of 2020, benefiting mostly from government projects, mining developments and private housing.

Zimbabwe is well behind regional peers on infrastructure. The AfDB estimates that the country needs US$34 billion to close its infrastructure gap, funding that Zimbabwe cannot raise due to international isolation and the country’s failure to pay its debts.