Swedish investors demand security, predictability

HARARE - Swedish investors are seeking predictability and security before committing their capital in Zimbabwe, Sweden’s ambassador Lars Ronnås said.

He said the investors are “looking at the long-term benefit… so they need to be sure their interests are safe.”

“As an ambassador, all I can do is to encourage business people, they see opportunities and decide for themselves, I cannot influence their decisions or tell them what to do. However, I know investors in Sweden are looking for predictability,” Ronnås said at the signing ceremony of a $3 million pledge by his country to the Zimbabwe Multi-Donor Trust Fund (ZimFund) yesterday.

The investors are also concerned about the cost and ease of doing business in Zimbabwe.

However, Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa told Ronnås that authorities were working on “bringing sanity to business”.

“As a country, we have to play our part that is making ourselves attractive to investors,” Chinamasa said.

“The areas that need attention include the cost and ease of doing business and we are working tirelessly to address this,” he said, adding that “we cannot take years to approve an investment as we are competing with other destinations.”

This comes as a British business delegation that recently visited Zimbabwe also expressed concern over uncertainty issues.

Catriona Laing, British ambassador to Harare, said the business people wanted assurances about safety or security of their investments and also clarity on Zimbabwe’s empowerment policy – compelling foreigners to cede majority shareholding to black locals.

Meanwhile, Ronnås, Chinamasa and the African Development Bank (AfDB) resident representative, Magala Mateus, signed a $3 million grant to ZimFund.

The grant, managed by AfDB, is targeted at funding rehabilitation of infrastructure in areas of water, sanitation and energy.

Mateus said the first phase of the project is expected to be complete by year-end.

“The project will benefit 1,9 million people in Chitungwiza, Ruwa and Redcliff.

“Focus is now being put on achieving phase two results,” Mateus said.

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