'We need to instil investor confidence'

HARARE - Oxlink Capital will tomorrow host an investment conference whose aim is to provide a platform for potential investors, business and government to come up with ways to increase the flow of investment into the country.

The conference is coming a week after Zimbabwe hosted the Zimbabwe Mining Indaba where International investors got a chance to consider the vast investment opportunities in Zimbabwe’s growing mining sector.

The Financial Gazette Online Editor Paul Nyakazeya spoke to Oxlink Capital Commercial liason executive Nyasha Pedulu about the Investment conference.

Q: I notice there are a number of investment conferences going on in the country, how different is yours from those that have been done lately?

A: We are in that time of national renewal, so I believe it follows that there should be a buzz for investment.
The Zimbabwe Investment Conference is being hosted to provide a platform to discuss opportunities and the ideal policy environment that will attract meaningful investment.

So in terms of how different it is, our thrust is to provide an open platform for investors to engage policy makers in order for them to have input in the creation of the ideal business environment and  related policies that should make businesses thrive.

As you know, we are at a time where Zimbabwe is having high unemployment rate and very low levels of gross fixed capital formation. There is no better time than now for business and policy makers to work together for this common good.

Q: How exactly will this conference achieve that?

A: The conference gives a day-long opportunity for open dialogue guided under four main thematic areas, namely the ease of doing business, opportunities in infrastructure, incentives for investment and the supportive legal framework on mining, land and indigenisation which are central in creating confidence and attracting long term capital.

We believe these form the key pillars in driving the growth agenda and we have no doubt they will generate good debate.

Delegates will therefore have the opportunity to engage on a national and sector-wide platform with the different stakeholders as represented by our diverse panelists.

To add to this, our guest list includes some household international investors with interest in Africa who will provide the investors views on operational guidelines in preparation for re-engagement with the country.

Q: What is the theme of this conference and I see a number of ambassadors on the panel, those from India, Japan and Italy?

A: The theme of the conference is “Zimbabwe, towards a preferred investment destination” On ambassadors, you see, they are the custodians of our international ties.

They reflect the views of investors from their respective countries. It is critical at this point that we get their sentiments and input on how we can attract and retain investment.

Q: People want to know what’s in it for the ordinary Zimbabwean investor. Are you not being elitist focusing on the big international investors?

A: We recognise the importance of the investors that have been in Zimbabwe during the good and bad times, the very investors that even lost capital during hyper-inflation and the subsequent demonetisation exercise.

We understand that they have stood the test of time and that they are the businesses that are creating jobs and paying taxes in Zimbabwe today.

This is why we have made an open invitation to the conference. We acknowledge that in discussing the pertinent question of what needs to be done for business to thrive, it is these same businesses that can best highlight the policy challenges that need to be addressed.

This conference therefore is their chance to signpost the legal framework and policies that will support the economic environment they operate in and the recovery of our economy.

However, we cannot ignore the need for foreign direct investment in some sectors that is why we have invited investors from across the globe including from Asia, the United States and the United Kingdom to participate at this conference and familiarise with the current opportunities for investment. 

Q: Is the focus of this conference therefore to support local policy makers?

A: No, not exclusively. The way we are looking at it, this conference is part of our nation’s regeneration and is designed to create the dialogue that instils confidence in investors that Zimbabwe is a safe destination for investment.

The conference is sets up to be an inclusive process, bringing together all interested parties, for our development as a country.

In so doing, the discussion will benefit policy makers in as much as it will benefit our local business community as part of this economic revival trajectory that the country has embarked on.

In addition, to this it will also showcase to investors that the terms of doing business in Zimbabwe are changing and that indeed we are open for business.

Q: Which politicians are we expecting to give key note addresses?

A: We have invited minister of Energy and Power Development Simon Khaya Moyo, July Moyo, minister of Local Government and National Housing, ICT minister Supa Mandiwanzira and deputy minister of Finance and Economic Planning Terrence Mukupe.

Q: What are your expectations for the conference?

A: I think the main focus for us is the exchange of ideas. We look forward to an open and objective dialogue which will contribute to the process of re-engagement for our country.

It is also going to be a huge platform for networking on several levels, so needless to say, those who will attend will benefit immensely from this conference.

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