Golden Sibanda in Cape Town, South Africa
PRESIDENT Mnangagwa has implored foreign investors to consider investing in Zimbabwe saying the country was now ready for take-off following nearly two decades of isolation.
The country has been under the weight of illegal sanctions that were imposed after the land reform programme which sought to correct colonial land imbalances.
Delivering a speech during an oversubscribed dinner with businesspeople on Wednesday at the World Economic Forum on Africa in Cape Town, President Mnangagwa said the land reform programme had been successfully completed and the country was now in transition.
“Allow me to preface my statement with a declaration that Zimbabwe is in transition,” he said.
“We have been in isolation for close to two decades due to illegal economic sanctions that were imposed following (the) process to reclaim our land through the land reform programme.”
President Mnangagwa said the country’s constitution required the Government to pay compensation for improvements on the land repossessed from white former commercial farmers, and that his administration will comply.
However, he pointed out that following the completion of the land reform programme and economic challenges that characterised the past two decades, focus was now on rebuilding the economy under the “Zimbabwe is Open for Business” policy.
President Mnangagwa said in line with the Transitional Stabilisation Programme (TSP 2018-2020), Government recognised the role of foreign direct investment (FDI) and private sector investors.
“The key tenets of our development agenda include comprehensive economic reforms, which improve the ease and cost of doing business, fosters an investment friendly environment, promotes and protects enterprises, creates employment, eradicates corruption and enhances accountability, transparency and good governance,” he said.
The President said the reforms were being undertaken with an eye on making sure the country attains Vision 2030 of becoming an Upper Middle Income economy where citizens get at least US$3 500 per month.
“Private sector investment will play a major role in the attainment of this noble vision. My administration has liberalised investment conditions and removed restrictions on shareholding across all sectors of the economy,” he said.
To that end, Government has repealed the Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Act, which limited foreign shareholding to 49 percent, with the balance reserved for indigenous blacks.
The President stressed that all Bilateral Investment Protection and Promotion Agreements (Bippas) will be respected.
“I want to assure you all that my administration is unwavering in its commitment to safe, open, predictable and transparent investment and business environment,” he said.
Government continued to strengthen institutions that are charged with fighting corruption, with the Zimbabwe Anti-corruption Commission (Zacc) having been fully reconstituted and capacitated.
Efforts were also underway to address issues around the ease of doing business by reforming regulatory frameworks and eliminating bureaucratic bottlenecks.
President Mnangagwa said a one-stop-shop had been established through the formation of the Zimbabwe Investment Development Authority (ZIDA).
“Legislative reforms are also ongoing to realign all our laws with the global best practices,” he said.
The President said agriculture was the mainstay of the economy and Government seeks to fully utilise the resource. He further indicated that mining sector, which has over 60 minerals including rare-earth minerals, was yet another area that investors should consider.
Other opportunities that investors could explore are in the tourism and manufacturing sectors, adding they offer incredible returns.
“In line with the Sadc industrialisation agenda and prospects brought by the operationalisation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), investors are welcome to Zimbabwe to set up value addition and beneficiation industries, leveraging on a wide array of raw materials and highly skilled human capital base in our country,” said President Mnangagwa.
He said investment opportunities abound in Zimbabwe’s infrastructure sector, particularly energy, modernisation and upgrading of transport systems.