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The Indian group Godrej Consumer Products on Friday opened a new factory making women’s hair products at the Beluluane Industrial Park in Boane district, about 30 kilometres west of Maputo.
According to one of the Godrej managers, Jay Gandhi, the factory, Beleza (Beauty)-Mocambique, employs 1,700 workers, 70 of them women, and 98 per cent of them Mozambican citizens. When the factory is working at full capacity, he expected the number of workers to rise to between 4,000 and 5,000 – perhaps double that number , if it operates two shifts.
The factory produces braids, curls and other hair extensions. Gandhi put current production at five million hair pieces a month, and revenue at around 2.5 million US dollar a month. The main brand produced at Beluluane, Darling, is regarded as the leader in hair extensions throughout sub-Saharan Africa.
There are three other Godrej factories in Mozambique – in Matola, Beira and Nampula – all producing for the domestic market. The Beluluane factory is the largest, and produces exclusively for export. This is part of the requirements for the tax breaks offered by an industrial free zone such as Beluluane. The industrial park is centred on the Mozal aluminium smelter, which is a couple of minutes walk from the Godrej plant.
Large trucks are lined up outside the factory doors, waiting to take the Beleza goods to the export markets. They are taken from Beluluane to South Africa, Zimbabwe and Madagascar. Some of the goods that go to South Africa are then sent onwards to other counties of the SADC (Southern African Development Community) region, such as Namibia and Swaziland.
Godrej invested 11 million dollars in building the Beluluane factory. Construction took 518 days, and at its peak employed 15,000 workers. The contractor was the Portuguese company Mota-Engil.
The company says the new factory has been built to the highest international quality standards, and it intends to upgrade its other three Mozambican plants to the same standards. Taken together the four factories currently employ 2,600 people, and represent a total investment of 15-16 million dollars.
The hair extensions are made of synthetic fibres, and most of this raw material is imported from South Africa. Some raw material also comes from China, India and Japan.
The Indian High Commissioner to Mozambique, Rudra Gaurav Shresth, told the ceremony “Mozambique is high on our investment priorities”, and accounts for around 25 per cent of Indian foreign direct investment in Africa.
But so far that investment has mostly been in the extractive industries (notably coal mining) and in trade. The Godred factory, however, was a contribution to the industrialisation of Mozambique.
“We have been encouraging Indian investment in manufacturing”, said Shresth. He believed there was “no better advertisement for Indian manufacturing than the Godrej Group”.Source: AIM