South Africa based, Botswana and Malawian businessman, Simbi Phiri, has unveiled plans to invest over $15 million to set up a Cuban cigar manufacturing plant. e plant is to become operational by 2018.
Construction of the factory is among key investment drives his South African based consortium, Khato Civils intends to establish as part of its strategy to broaden its foot print into Malawi.
Briefing journalists who are on a tour of some of Khato’s projects in Johannesburg, South Africa, Phiri said a study was under way to establish the viability of setting up the cigar factory in Mchinji, also the town where his father comes from.
Building and construction materials for the fac- tory alone are estimated at around $7 million.
He said he targets 2018 to complete the construction of the factory and start producing cigarettes for the local and international markets.
“We have been in touch with experts in Cuba over the viability of producing cigars in Malawi which if proven viable will see the country selling cigars to Congo, Angola, Mozambique, South Africa and other countries in Africa and beyond in a few years’ time,” he said.
While expounding on potential investment opportunities in the economy, Phiri however, lamented over what he rated as prevalent investment bottlenecks which he said have had huge repercussions on attracting investment.
He cited, for instance, bureaucracy and delays in completing paper work as barriers to
“There are many opportunities in Malawi but the problem is regulatory bo lenecks. I will invest any amount in Malawi if I have the authorities’ approval,” he said.
He business also plans to construct twin towers at the Lilongwe City Centre with the initial cost pegged at R300 million.
Pu ing Money Where His Mouth Is
Meanwhile Phiri and his companies have also been in the forefront of helping financially short Malawi government with some crucial basic infrastructure after donating a hospital facility, a police building, and motorcycles to be used by the police in their daily routines.
Khato Civils handed over an K85 million police unit at Kamwendo Trading Centre in Mchinji to Malawi Police as well as donating a vehicle and vevmotorcycles to the police unit.
In a separate event Mr. Phiri further donated a cheque of K4.5 million for the central region police to use for logistics and maintenance of vehicles that developed minor mechanical problems. He also donated seven motorcycles.
Simbi Phiri also spent over R4 million for the renovation of Tembwe hospital. e renovation of the facility includes the out patient, maternity wings, offices, a new guardian shelter, water tanks and staff houses among others.