Zest WEG’s four decades in Africa have produced a powerful local manufacturing base, and a growing footprint across sub-Saharan Africa – strengthening supply chains and local economies.
“Progress in skills development has been significant in the past few years, as we have invested heavily in technology and skills transfer between the company and our holding company WEG in Brazil,” says Juliano Vargas, chief executive officer of Zest WEG. “Leveraging WEG’s global manufacturing productivity logic, we have also installed the latest equipment and systems to pave the way for a sustainable future.”
As a result, local content in the company’s manufacture of transformers is now nearly 90%, while for products like E-Houses and electrical panels has exceeded 70%. Vargas highlights the strategic importance of local content not just in terms of the mining industry’s commitment to the Mining Charter, but for the sustainability of the South African economy as a whole.
“Our local manufacturing capability has helped to strengthen the supply chain for our customers, making businesses more secure,” he says. “The value of this has been well demonstrated by the economic impact of border closures during the Covid-19 pandemic.”
Vargas emphasises that Zest WEG’s own supply chain has been actively nurtured through enterprise development initiatives, fostering the sustainability of local businesses. This local manufacturing ecosystem shields the company from market fluctuations and gives it a competitive cost advantage on locally manufactured products.
Success in South Africa has fostered growth into 47 other African countries, where customers are not only supported by wholly-owned operations but also by Zest WEG’s Value Added Resellers (VARs) in over 20 countries around the continent.
“These VARs understand their local markets and are skilled practitioners in their fields,” he says. “This ensures that they can apply Zest WEG solutions appropriately and optimally to customers’ specific needs.”
VARs are a key aspect of the company’s strategy to become rooted all over sub-Saharan Africa, collaborating with in-country experts and enhancing technical expertise and local capacity for economic development. Vargas notes that WEG’s range of products serve many industrial sectors, allowing Zest WEG and its VARs to explore opportunities not only in mining, but also in oil and gas, agriculture, water, cement and general industry.