ZIA targets $2,5bn FDI

HARARE - The Zimbabwe Investment Authority (ZIA) says it expects to approve projects valued at $2,5 billion this year on the back of broad economic reforms being adopted by President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s administration.

The reforms are expected to provide a condusive environment for foreigners to invest in Zimbabwe.

“Given the observed developments in the investment environment we expect approvals to increase this year and to record above $2,5 billion in 2018,” said ZIA chief executive officer Richard Mbaiwa.

This was after a total of 162 projects with a combined value of $1,519 billion were approved by the investment authority in 2017 — a decline from 164 projects valued at $2,3 billion in 2016.

Of the projects approved last year, mining accounted for $576 million proposals with the manufacturing sector recording $488 million.

The energy, services and construction sectors recorded $162 million,$153 million and $106 million respectively.

“The tourism, agriculture and transport sectors performed poorly with under 17 million, $12 million and $300 thousand respectively,” he said.

He said the government had provided for the right traction for a Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) growth due to exhibition of a positive attitude towards business by the government.

Mnangagwa said Zimbabwe was now open for business and was willing to restore normal relationships with the international community.

“Government has shown interest to increase investment in Zimbabwe by removing investment impediments like the amendment of the indigenisation and economic empowerment regulations.

Willingness to finalise the land reform programme and focus on productivity of the land and launch of pro-business Investment Guidelines,” he said.

ZIA said FDI approvals declined by 34 percent in 2017 as compared to 2016.

“There is much room to improve Zimbabwe’s FDI performance through coordinated investment promotion efforts.

“ZIA is ready to co-operate and participate in any efforts at improving the investment climate in Zimbabwe. The overall doing business reforms now straddling across all arms of government are a welcome initiative to improve the investment environment,” Mbaiwa said. 

Going forward, Mbaiwa said besides fiscal incentives Zimbabwe should consider non-fiscal incentives in some countries.

“An individual investing at least $100 000 can receive automatic permanent residency and a quota of expatriate workers without needing to justify. There is also need for multi-media global publicity campaigns for Joint Venture Act (covering PPPs), SEZ Act, and doing business reforms,” he said.

Mbaiwa said government should consider speeding implementation of SEZ program on pilot basis to generate “demonstration effect” for roll-out in other areas.

“Public entities should aggressively market their commercialised projects, and ZIA can assist in packaging, and scouting for investors,” he said.
— The Financial Gazette

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