We prefer Chinese: Nhema

HARARE - Zimbabwe will always give  preferential treatment to Chinese investors as they stood by the country during tough times, Indigenisation minister Francis Nhema said.

He, however, said government will enact legislative pieces that restrict and govern the Asians’ investment.

“The Chinese are particularly offered preferential treatment because they were there when things were bad,” Nhema told an Institute of Chartered Accountants Zimbabwe CFO forum this week.

“Government is now trying to enforce legislation to monitor all investors on the ground, but there are relationships that have been acquired, which will always be preserved,” he added.

Zimbabwe adopted a “look east” policy in 2004, after top government officials and State enterprises were slapped with sanctions by the UK, the United States and other Western countries.

The policy has encouraged China and other Asian countries to invest in Zimbabwe, which they have done without much stringent conditions from the southern African nation.

While the country regards China as its key economic ally and “all weather” friend, the Asian nation’s prime minister Li Keqiang recently embarked on an African tour — targeted at strengthening ties with resource-rich nations — but did not come to Zimbabwe.

Nhema also urged investors to approach him with their investment offers if they face hurdles in trying to invest in the country.

“Let investors come to me with their offers and put them on the table. The policy is very flexible and as long as these investors are willing to observe our laws, they are very welcome,” he said.

Investment-starved Zimbabwe is desperately trying to attract Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and access international lines of credit.

Investors and financiers however, are wary of its policies, particularly the indigenisation law — compelling foreigners to cede majority shareholding to black locals.

But, Zimbabwe shifted stance in the implementation of the empowerment policy with President Robert Mugabe recently ruling out a one-size-fits-all approach, saying only companies utilising the country’s natural resources will be required to immediately turn over majority stakes to indigenous Zimbabweans.

This was a departure from the aggressive and rigid style pushed by former Indigenisation minister Saviour Kasukuwere, who pushed for a blanket 51 percent empowerment threshold despite nature of the sector.

Government is now implementing a sector specific approach.

Nhema added that government sought to protect indigenous Zimbabweans through the law, and not repel FDI in the process.

“We want investment, we need the investment, but sometimes we are caught up in our own fights and fail to see the good in different actions,” said the former Environment minister.

“The way the (indigenisation) policy has been portrayed leaves a sour taste in the mouth, but essentially I am here to clarify… that the country is open to engaging with serious investors,” he said.

Comments (14)

Francis Nhema, With respect Sir, which laws are you referring to , Zanu pf law or Zimbabwe law . And flexible is just what the investor does not want to here, why cant you just put it on paper finished and clar. Your method leaves toooo much room for palm oil. Try looking at it from an investors point of view, still as clear as mud.

ronaldos - 29 May 2014

Francis I thought you are the last few logical people in ZANU PF but you undoubtedly proved me wrong. With the lack of investment in our country its stupid to show such bias towards investors. If I were you i would have just said we prefer investors- black white, whatever.

lee moyo - 29 May 2014

Francis Nhema is looking for bribes from his Chinese friends.There will never be any meaningful investors from China.The so called 'LOOK EAST POLICY'failed way back in 2004, otherwise we wouldn't be crying today. I think we are just looking for new but WORSE 'colonial masters'

MASHURA MANYEPO - 30 May 2014

you just dont want to repent of your foolishness nhema and zanu pf. you and your chinese have messed up big time. repent because as sure as the sun will rise will rise tomorrow God will judge you one of these days unless you repent of your wrong doings on this country. of course you try and justify yourself like you want to justify your useless friendship with china by saying you once suffered. the truth is that your justification is hurting the country. you guys are useless although you fought the war. you are solders please let the civilians rule the country. if we the young were born at your time we would have done the things better that the primitive way you guys have done it.

see - 30 May 2014

COMRADE NHEMA JUST WHEN I WAS BEGINING TO LIKE YOU INVESTMENT KNOWS NO RACE THE SOONER YOU REALISE THAT THE BETTER OTHERWISE AT THIS RATE WE STILL HAVE ALONG WAY TO GO. SANCTIONS MY FOOT.

TIMZORA - 30 May 2014

No China did not stand by us, we chose to stand by it! Our own crazy policies restricted investment from other countries, they still do!!!

ndareva - 30 May 2014

No hope to reach India with this ZANU PF gvt. Nhema has to tore the line if he wants to keep his job. There is NIKUV when it comes to elections.Why worry,ZANU ndeyeropa...Forget about this ungrateful povo..NYIKA YAKAUYA NEPFUTI HAITORWI NEPENSURA!

nhamoinesu - 30 May 2014

No hope to reach India with this ZANU PF gvt. Nhema has to tore the line if he wants to keep his job. There is NIKUV when it comes to elections.Why worry,ZANU ndeyeropa...Forget about this ungrateful povo..NYIKA YAKAUYA NEPFUTI HAITORWI NEPENSURA!

nhamoinesu - 30 May 2014

Francis please wake up and smell rot in these Chinese you are so desperately in need to get in bed with. They don`t give a damn about you and worse of Zimbabwe. They want a one night stand period!!

Zuruvi - 30 May 2014

apo nhema waratidza hutema hwaunawo. we thought kuti zvanadirection, iwe u ar still in the same direction with kasukuwere. haa shit mhaniii

nhema - 30 May 2014

Comrade Nhema, I see you are one of millions of Africans who have been misled by the Chinese into believing you are bosom buddies from days of old, when in fact it is far from the truth, it is just that China had a vision to take control of Africa's resources, and you were caught, like many others, hook line and sinker, into believing that the Chinese had your best interests at heart, when all along they have only had their own best interest at heart. I shall quote you from a book called "Africa's Red Harvest" - under the heading Peking moves in - "the Chinese enjoy many advantages in Africa over the Russians. Being themselves, if not coloured, at least non-white or non-European is by itself a decided asset and makes their motives far less suspect in the eyes of the Africans." Unlike you and your dysfunctional government, many of us have not been hoodwinked by the Zingzong's real intentions. The fact that the Chinese prime minister gave Zimbabwe a wide berth on his recent trip to Africa, clearly shows that they have lost interest in this country as there is just far too much palm oil required in their dealings.

ronaldos - 31 May 2014

The Chinese do not prefer you, thats why their govt leaders avoid you (like a plague) while visiting other countries inthe region. You have nothing to offer beyond empty rhetoric. noone takes you seriously in this world.

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