Agriprocessing expert and founder of Harvest Fresh Africa, Simba Mhungu, says Zimbabweans living in the diaspora should take advantage of the country's depressed economy to put a foothold into business ownership.
Mhungu was speaking at Harvard University Business School this weekend during the annual Africa Business Conference, which brought together business executives from the African continent and beyond to discuss opportunities and why it is important for the African diaspora community to invest back home.
The Harvard Africa Business Conference was held under the theme: “A more inclusive Africa, the pursuit of progress for all”.
Mhungu attended the conference with many other Zimbabwean executives and students currently undergoing various studies at some top American Universities.
Mhungu said he was inspired to start his firm which is engaged in developing agricultural projects in Zimbabwe after attending a similar conference at Harvard University a few years ago.
Prior to founding his company, he worked with small and large-scale sugar cane farmers helping them develop projects across the entire bio-energy supply chain, from the production of sugarcane and tropical sugar beet, to the development of sugar mills.
Mhungu was part of a panel discussion on agriprocessing together with outgoing National Foods Chief Executive Officer, Jeremy Brooke, who also encouraged those interested in doing business to take advantage of the depressed Zimbabwe economy to acquire property or businesses at reasonable prices.
Mhungu said his journey towards starting a business in Zimbabwe was not easy, as he left his job as an investment banker in New York, USA, to pursue his passion as a business owner locally.
"I made the decision to get back to Zimbabwe and start an agribusiness back in 2012. I was able to take advantage of the depressed prices at that time as there were a lot of investors disposing of their assets at that time," said Mhungu.
Mhungu added that it was important for business people interested in doing business in Zimbabwe to take the risk, visit and explore the boundless opportunities that have opened up as the economy continues to spiral downwards.