Zim receives $400m in FDI

HARARE - Zimbabwe has in the past few months received over $400 million in foreign direct investment and the country has potential to rake in billions of dollars, a top economist has said.

Neville Mandimika, an economist at South Africa’s Rand Merchant Bank, said local markets have been buoyed by the ascendency of President Emmerson Mnangagwa who replaced Robert Mugabe who resigned in November last year due to pressure from the military and the populace.

“We estimate that approximately $400 million has already flowed into the country since the changeover, but there are billions waiting at the gate,” he said.

With his finger on the pulse of Africa’s emerging markets and investor sentiment, Mandimika believes that the forthcoming elections still hold the key to unlocking international capital for investment.

“The appetite is there, but what investors want to see is how, not who wins the election, but how they are won,” said the economist who is expected to address delegates at the ZimReal Property Investment Forum on June 13, 2018.

The conference, hosted by Africa’s premier investment and real estate development conference producer, API Events, is a keenly anticipated event for the local industry and regional investors.

Kfir Rusin, who is organising the event, said the company has so far received interest from various stakeholders from both the private and public sector.

“From the private sector, we have the pension funds, developers and leading regional thought leaders presenting and engaging with one another in high-level panel discussions at this year’s event,” said Rusin.

He noted that API hosts multiple conferences each year, and Zimbabwe’s investment stock has risen dramatically in the eyes of the big funds targeting Africa.

While clear election results are likely increase to market liquidity and grease the levers of development and commerce, for Mandimika another critical topic for discussion is the need for clarity on monetary policy.

“We need to establish if we are going to continue using bond notes and re-establish the local dollar or will we join the common monetary union, which links Namibia, Lesotho, South African and Swaziland into a union.”

While, joining the local union is one option, Mandimika believes that it is unlikely that Zimbabwe will follow this course and believes that we are likely to see a few more years of bond notes before any changes are adopted.

The policies enacted in the medium to long-term are particularly poignant for Mandimika as he is a member of the highly skilled Diaspora.

“If there is certainty around policy for the next couple of years, I think a lot of us would consider returning home and also investing in the short-term. With millions of Zimbabweans living in South Africa, Europe and the Americas, the influx of capital and skill could be a major benefit for the growth of the economy,” he added.

— The Financial Gazette

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