State of industry: Five key points from CZI’s latest manufacturing report

Sales grew for many companies over the past year, but CZI sees new laws as a threat

The Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI) has released its annual manufacturing sector report, which provides a useful picture of how industries are doing.

The report is compiled from surveys of operations of CZI’s members, among whome are some of the country’s biggest industries.

Here are five key highlights from this report.

1. Capacity utilisation up, but still below 50%

Capacity utilisation recovered from 36.4% in 2019 to 47% in 2020. It is an improvement, but it means that manufacturers were still less than half as productive as they can be. Capacity use was 48.2% in 2018 and 45.1% in 2017.

2. 2021 will be better, but…

CZI expects capacity utilisation to get even better this year, rising further to 61%. But this is if the conditions are right; including policy consistency, maintaining the relative currency stability, and an “aggressive” COVID-19 vaccination programme.

3. What changed in 2020?

The companies said the foreign currency auction, introduced in June last year, improved their access to forex. COVID-19 disrupted logistics. Inflation remained a concern, but the power crisis of 2019 was not a factor last year as electricity supply improved.

4. Industry lost 40% of revenue

Industries lost a massive 40% of their revenue in 2020. Under COVID-19, companies found it hard to transport their goods, into both the local and export markets.

5. Sugar is Zim’s biggest food export

Which are the top manufactured exports? Processed foods were the biggest export in this category. Exports of processed foods grew by 18% from US$98 million in 2019 to US$115 million in 2020. Sugar dominated these exports, earning US$76 million. Zimbabwe also exported fruit juices worth US$5.6 million last year.