Investors renew Zim interest

HARARE - After shunning Zimbabwe during its years of hyper-inflation and political strife, foreign investors are finding the country increasingly attractive following the lifting of  European Union (EU) economic sanctions last year.

Simon Khaya Moyo, the Economic Planning and Investment Promotion minister this week revealed that over the past six months the investment starved country had received over 30 delegations scouting investment.

“We need to know their concerns and address them to remain competitive in the global community,” Moyo told stakeholders at a meeting to set up his ministry’s vision and mission to agencies falling under its ambit.

To this end, Moyo said his ministry is working on the formation of an investors’ forum to bring together investors and policy makers to deliberate on how best the investment climate in the country can be improved.

“Dialogue with investors will be improved dramatically to improve our international competitiveness,” he said.

Moyo also assured stakeholders that this year the Zimbabwe Investment Authority (ZIA) will act as a truly one-stop shop investment centre.

“We are truly working on reforming the operations of ZIA to make it a world class one stop investment centre.

“The major aim here is to reduce dramatically the number of days it takes to process investments,” he said.

Furthermore, Moyo noted that his ministry was finalising work on creating a platform for online investment project applications and processing.

“The platform will also contain a list of projects that are open for investors in Zimbabwe.

“This will allow potential investors to apply online for investments thereby improving the ease of doing business in the country,” he said.

So far Zimbabwe has signed 54 Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreements (Bippas) with some African countries and multi-lateral fronts as part of efforts to entice foreign investors into the country.

Moyo noted that Zimbabwe will continue to sign Bippas with interested partners across the world in a bid to boost investor confidence.

“54 Bippas are at various stages of completion. 16 are still under negotiation, three are awaiting signatures, while 26 are awaiting ratification and nine have already been ratified,” Moyo said.

He added that selected staff from his ministry had undergone training through African Development Bank (AfDB) in the negotiation and signing of Bippas.

Moyo noted that a bill on the establishment of special economic zones (Sezs) will be presented soon and work in that respect was now at an advanced stage.

“The creation and effective operation of the Sezs is priority of the ministry during 2015.

“In this regard, SEZs will go a long way in improving our exports and re-industrialisation and will promote value addition and make Zimbabwe a manufacturing giant in Africa,” he said.

This comes as the southern African country has over the years been shunned by investors due to lack of rule of law, chaotic land reform programme coupled with policy inconsistencies and deteriorating economic environment.

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