Step By Step way of Starting a Manufacturing Company in Zimbabwe: A Comprehensive Guide

Zimbabwe’s manufacturing sector has seen a resurgence in recent years, presenting exciting opportunities for entrepreneurs and investors. Whether you’re a local Zimbabwean or a foreign investor, establishing a manufacturing company in this dynamic market can be a lucrative endeavor. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the key steps, requirements, and licensing processes involved in starting a manufacturing business in Zimbabwe.

Understanding the Manufacturing Landscape in Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe’s manufacturing industry has undergone significant transformations in the past decade. After a period of economic challenges, the sector has seen a gradual recovery, with various government initiatives and policies aimed at promoting industrial growth. Key sectors within the manufacturing industry include food processing, textiles, chemicals, and metal fabrication, among others.

The government of Zimbabwe has made concerted efforts to create a more conducive environment for manufacturing businesses, including the introduction of special economic zones, tax incentives, and infrastructure development projects. These measures have contributed to an increase in foreign direct investment and the establishment of new manufacturing enterprises in the country.

Before embarking on your manufacturing venture, it’s crucial to familiarize yourself with the legal and regulatory requirements in Zimbabwe. The primary governing bodies and regulations include:

1. Zimbabwe Investment and Development Agency (ZIDA): ZIDA is the central authority responsible for facilitating and regulating investment activities in Zimbabwe. All companies, including manufacturing businesses, must register with ZIDA.

2. Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (ZIMRA): ZIMRA is the national tax authority and responsible for the administration of various taxes, including corporate income tax, value-added tax (VAT), and customs duties.

3. Ministry of Industry and Commerce: This ministry oversees the development and regulation of the manufacturing sector in Zimbabwe. It issues licenses and permits for specific manufacturing activities.

4. Environmental Management Agency (EMA): EMA is responsible for ensuring compliance with environmental regulations, including the management of waste, emissions, and environmental impact assessments.

5. Standards Association of Zimbabwe (SAZ): SAZ sets and enforces quality standards for manufactured products in Zimbabwe. Compliance with SAZ standards is often a requirement for market access.

Steps to Start a Manufacturing Company in Zimbabwe

1. Business Registration and Incorporation:

   – Register your business with ZIDA and obtain an investment license.

   – Register your company with the Registrar of Companies.

   – Obtain a tax clearance certificate from ZIMRA.

2. Site Selection and Land Acquisition:

   – Identify a suitable location for your manufacturing facility, considering factors such as infrastructure, logistics, and access to raw materials.

   – Acquire the necessary land or premises, either through purchase or lease.

   – Ensure compliance with local zoning and land-use regulations.

3. Licensing and Permits:

   – Obtain the relevant manufacturing licenses and permits from the Ministry of Industry and Commerce.

   – Comply with environmental regulations and obtain the necessary permits from the Environmental Management Agency (EMA).

   – Register your products with the Standards Association of Zimbabwe (SAZ) and ensure compliance with their quality standards.

4. Financing and Investment:

   – Secure the necessary financing, which may include equity investment, loans, or government incentives.

   – Explore the availability of special economic zone (SEZ) incentives, which can provide tax breaks and other benefits for manufacturing companies.

5. Facility Development and Equipment Procurement:

   – Design and construct your manufacturing facility, ensuring compliance with building codes and safety regulations.

   – Procure the necessary machinery, equipment, and technologies to support your manufacturing operations.

6. Human Resource Management:

   – Recruit and train a skilled workforce, including production staff, engineers, and managerial personnel.

   – Comply with labor laws and regulations, including minimum wage requirements and social security contributions.

7. Supply Chain Management:

   – Establish reliable sources of raw materials, components, and other inputs required for your manufacturing processes.

   – Develop efficient logistics and distribution channels to ensure the timely delivery of your products to the market.

8. Quality Assurance and Compliance:

   – Implement robust quality control systems and procedures to meet the standards set by SAZ and other regulatory bodies.

   – Ensure ongoing compliance with environmental regulations and obtain the necessary certifications, such as ISO standards.

9. Marketing and Sales:

   – Develop a comprehensive marketing strategy to promote your products and services, both domestically and internationally.

   – Identify and cultivate relationships with key distributors, retailers, and export partners to expand your market reach.

10. Ongoing Operations and Expansion:

    – Continuously monitor and optimize your manufacturing processes to improve efficiency, productivity, and profitability.

    – Explore opportunities for product diversification, technological upgrades, and expansion into new markets or geographic regions.

Key Considerations and Challenges

Starting a manufacturing company in Zimbabwe can be a rewarding but challenging endeavor. Some key considerations and challenges to be aware of include:

1. Infrastructure Constraints: Zimbabwe’s infrastructure, particularly in terms of electricity, water, and transportation, can pose challenges for manufacturing operations. Careful planning and investment in alternative energy sources or logistics solutions may be necessary.

2. Access to Financing: Securing adequate financing, especially for capital-intensive manufacturing projects, can be a significant hurdle. Leveraging government incentives, special economic zone benefits, and developing relationships with financial institutions can be helpful.

3. Skilled Labor Availability: Ensuring the availability of a skilled and reliable workforce, particularly in specialized manufacturing roles, may require focused recruitment and training efforts.

4. Regulatory Compliance: Navigating the complex regulatory landscape, obtaining the necessary licenses and permits, and maintaining compliance can be time-consuming and resource-intensive. Seeking the guidance of legal and regulatory experts is advisable.

5. Supply Chain Reliability: Establishing a reliable and efficient supply chain for raw materials, components, and logistics can be a challenge, especially for manufacturers new to the Zimbabwean market.

6. Market Competition: The manufacturing sector in Zimbabwe can be competitive, with both domestic and international players. Developing a unique value proposition and a strong marketing strategy is crucial for success.

Opportunities and Incentives

Despite the challenges, Zimbabwe’s manufacturing sector offers numerous opportunities and incentives for investors:

1. Special Economic Zones (SEZs): The government has established SEZs that provide tax incentives, duty-free imports, and other benefits for manufacturing companies.

2. Government Initiatives: The government has introduced various programs and initiatives to support the growth of the manufacturing industry, such as the Zimbabwe National Industrial Development Policy.

3. Abundant Natural Resources: Zimbabwe is endowed with a wealth of natural resources, including minerals, agricultural products, and renewable energy sources, which can serve as raw materials for manufacturing activities.

4. Expanding Domestic and Regional Markets: With a population of over 14 million and growing economic integration in the Southern African region, there is a sizable and expanding domestic and regional market for manufactured goods.

5. Skilled and Cost-Competitive Labor: Zimbabwe has a relatively skilled and cost-competitive workforce, which can be a significant advantage for manufacturing operations.


Starting a manufacturing company in Zimbabwe can be a rewarding and transformative endeavor. By understanding the legal and regulatory framework, navigating the key steps, and addressing the various challenges, entrepreneurs and investors can establish a successful manufacturing business in this dynamic market. With the right strategies, access to incentives, and a commitment to quality and innovation, your manufacturing venture can contribute to the growth and development of Zimbabwe’s industrial landscape.