Shoprite became the first multinational trader to open business in Mzuzu City on Thursday when it laid its foundation stone to mark the official commencement of construction of its shopping complex at the renowned former Katoto Freedom Park.
Minister of Agriculture and Food Security, Professor Peter Mwanza who is also Member of Parliament for the city presided over the official launch of construction work on behalf of Minister of Industry and trade.
Speaking at the function, Shoprite Director for Africa division, Gerhard Fritz, expressed his company’s satisfaction for managing to lay the project’s foundation stage after it stalled for two years because of harsh economic conditions that affected several countries, including Malawi.
“This project stalled for about two years because of the economic crisis which affected almost all nations and Malawi was not spared. So, the project had to be held for some time for the economy to stabilize a little,” Fritz said.
He promised Malawians that the coming of Shoprite in Mzuzu will uplift the city and people’s lives.
“Shoprite is a proud supporter of local industries and we have a role to play in uplifting people’s lives. Therefore, the coming of this Shop in the city will greatly benefit government, the city and residents within and others [outside the city],” he said.
According to Fritz, once completed, Shoprite in Mzuzu will employ not less than 130 workers, which he described as a great boost to the city and Malawi as a whole. He also said Shoprite was ready to buy local produce like vegetables, fruits, eggs and many more, provided they are of good quality.
On his part, Professor Peter Mwanza who is reported to have played a big role in negotiating for the development, said Shoprite had come at the right time in Mzuzu when the city and its surrounding areas are experiencing a great economic boom, citing uranium mining at Kayelekera in Karonga, discovery of niobium in Mzimba and other agricultural activities.
“The decision for Shoprite to come here is a wise one because of late, we have seen the discovery of many mining sites that are just around the [Mzuzu] city, therefore, the problem of market will never be experienced,” said Mwanza, shedding off fears that the shop may fail to survive because of market problems.
About seven years ago, Shoprite opened its store in Mzuzu in what is now Tutla’s, shop, but closed after a short stint of operation reportedly because it was not making profit.
The current Shoprite complex building, whose construction actually started about two months ago, will cover a space of 3000 squaremeters and will house 12 outlets, banks and 25 stores including Mr. Price, HTD and others.
Shoprite opened its doors with a single shop in Lilongwe in 2001 and expanded to Blantyre with three super markets in different areas. Currently, the multinational shop employs more than 600 Malawian workers.
The company also has 1400 outlets in 17 African countries, according to Shoprite Director for Arica Region, Gerhard Fritz.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :