ZIMBABWE’s State-owned postal agency, Zimpost, and China’s largest courier company, YTO Express, have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) that will see the Chinese firm injecting a substantial amount of money into the parastatal and turning it a launch pad for its African operations, NewsDay has learnt.
by STAFF REPORTER
Headquartered in Shanghai, the company moves more than 13 million parcels per day and has an annual turnover the size of Zimbabwe’s National Budget, which stands at $4 billion.
Information and Communication Technology minister Supa Mandiwanzira, who facilitated the deal, confirmed the development yesterday, but said he would shed more light after briefing his principals in government.
The MoU, part of which has been publicised on the Chinese government website, states that YTO and Zimpost will discuss the potential of capital investment co-operation and agreed to co-operate and invest in cross-border e-commerce between China, Zimbabwe and Southern Africa.
“Yes, there are good things in the offing at Zimpost. I have just come back from China and I need to brief my boss first, then we can talk,” Mandiwanzira said.
The MoU reads in part: “Zimpost will be YTO’s partner of parcel service from China to Zimbabwe and the rest of Southern Africa.”
The MoU was signed by YTO executive vice-president, Xinwei Yang and Zimpost chairman, Clemence Mabaso with Mandiwanzira and YTO Express chairman and president, Weijiao Yu witnessing the event.
It also states that Zimpost will be responsible for last mile delivery within Zimbabwe and the entire region.
The agreement comes on the eve of a State visit to Zimbabwe by Chinese President Xi Jinping, who is expected in Harare today.
Sources close to the development also said the MoU signed between YTO and Zimpost could open possibilities of the Chinese company buying a stake in Zimpost’s subsidiary Courier Connect.
The latest deal follows Mandiwanzira’s cancellation of a privatisation deal that would have seen local company, Pioneer getting a 50% stake in Courier Connect in return for four 30-tonne trucks for the company that he described as “a joke and not in the public interest”.
Mabaso said Zimpost was pleased with the deal.
“As Zimpost, we are very excited at the opportunity of working with a top-tier Chinese company in the parcels express industry.
The potential of us and YTO making a huge business impact domestically and the region is unparalleled.
“It’s a major development for us and we are going to seize the moment. I really would like to thank Mandiwanzira, who led us to YTO Express,” he said in a statement.
YTO Express had a turnover of $4 billion last year and this year is projected at $5,3 billion.