Mugabe in climbdown over investors

HARARE - Government is open to negotiations with investors and has adopted a stance of respecting investor rights and sentiments, President Robert Mugabe said yesterday.

In an apparent climbdown from his usual rhetoric about investors taking advantage of the country’s resources, Mugabe told followers at the Heroes Day commemorations that his government was amenable to investors who wanted to inject capital into the investment-starved country.

“We are a country that observes and respects the rights of investors. We are prepared to listen to investor concerns and are in the process of managing the cost of doing business so that investors are comfortable to operate in this country,” Mugabe said. “Right now what we are working on is the employment of strategies to avoid drought and subsequent starvation.”

Zimbabwe has in the past been failing to attract enough Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) due to policy discord and very high doing business costs, according to market watchers.

However, according to the latest United National Conference on Trade and Development report, FDI into the country surged 36 percent to $545 million in 2014 from $400 million registered in 2013.

This comes as the investment-starved country is desperately trying to attract FDI and access international lines of credit.

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

Mugabe said the country was open to suggestions by investors on how to make it a more attractive investment destination, but was quick to point out that the most welcome suggestions were “investors from friendly countries”.

“Of course we want all investors to tell us what they think about us as an investment destination, however, we are especially keen to dialogue with investors from countries that are friendly to our struggle,” he said.

Government has been at the centre of intense criticism from various envoys in the country due to its flip-flopping nature where policies and rule of law were concerned, with most saying government was notorious for its blatant disrespect of property rights.

The country’s uncertain policy environment was recently cited as a hindrance to investment by the World Economic Forum released late last year.

In its Global Competitiveness Report for 2014-2015, the global think-tank expressed concern over the country’s policy environment arguing it needed urgent attention.

The World Bank has said that five years of investor-friendly policies in the mining sector alone could increase annual output by $5 billion.

Comments (7)

Bob wakazviisa parumananzombe. Hauchina pekubata. Zvino vemaridzavo vava kukumanyisa kusvika wagara mumudhaka nemagaro kuti zho-o. Isu zwedu takatarisa - nemumvura nemumvura nakatsande. Hokoyo ! Unless you want to tell us because you and your cronies now have companies then mava kutomudza matiro murimwi - zwanakira imwi.

Masamba Akareyo - Tanganda - 11 August 2015

these investors monkeys which after being chased away from a maize field will just return as soon as their tormentor faces that opposite direction. we are talking of rational people here with their billion at stake. if your Chinese friends classify the country as a risky investment destination, how about anyone else? they will only come after zanu bro because they are fed up with zanu indicate right turn left tendencies + your lootocracy sanctioned by you.

josphat mugadzaweta - 12 August 2015

For an investor to invest $2million into the country, to whom do they cede that $1million indigenization requirement to? Who amongst the local Zimbos would benefit from this $1m overnight?

Collin - 12 August 2015

Yeh, dictator now knows that the one with capital is the boss. Can't print wealth, can't sh!t on the world. Even Chinese all weather friends' capital is not safe. So called Town Clerk looter shares the missing 3m with Jombo. Then you expect the country to move!? Ehe, the fake educated soldiers may keep you there, but you will squeal!

Dictator - 12 August 2015

What investor in their right mind would now want to do business with this mob? How could or would any potential investor ever be able to trust this regime after listening to Mugabe recent speech at the AU discouraging fellow members from doing business with any Western investors? The man flip flops too much making his word unreliable. The only time we are likely to see an improvement in our economy is when this once highly productive country purges itself totally of this ZANU PF culture and its wicked ways?

Gibson Ncube - 12 August 2015

The climbing down the President needs to do is to retire. gracefully and graciously. Not even the Chinese will lend us money now. it is a pity it took them so long to wake up to the truth: any loans the Zim govt can lay its hands on is plundered stolen and squandered. ZPF is writing its own demise by keeping the status quo: keeping RGM and not inviting all interested parties to come together to rebuild a shattered Zimbabwe. This nation needs urgent repentance!

TruthBTold - 12 August 2015

Wanyangira yaona you limping goblin. Once beaten twice shy. First give back the farms you grabbed to their original owners then people can start talking about new investments. The ball is in your court mukweguru.

Mutirowafanza - 13 August 2015

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