Every news bulletin brings fresh stories of the horrific nature of life in Zimbabwe. While the major concerns are the loss of life and liberty for the nation’s population, the corrupt regime is also having a dramatic impact on the country’s business community. Witness the experience of Apollo Tyres.
Apollo acquired a manufacturing plant in Zimbabwe when it purchased South African based Dunlop Tyres International in April 2006. Due to Zimbabwe’s hyperinflation, currently in the region of nine million percent, the tyre company’s turnover has attained monumental growth. Apollo Tyres’ chief of strategy commented wryly that, “we are probably the only tyre company where all the employees are trillionaires”.
Mugabe’s government acknowledges Apollo’s importance as the only tyre manufacturer in the country, and has given it access to the foreign currency needed to purchase raw materials. However, the company is unable to repatriate any profits, and given the current exchange rate, it would scarcely be worthwhile anyway.
Who knows, given that Apollo is the country’s only tyre producer, it may be in a position to wield some power in driving the country in the right direction.