Tendai Mugabe in DUBAI, United Arab Emirates
A high-powered business delegation from the United Arab Emirates will soon visit Zimbabwe to scout for potential business opportunities offered by the country under the new dispensation, Finance and Economic Development Minister Professor Mthuli Ncube has said.
The expected visit follows President Mnangagwa’s successful tour of the United Arab Emirates where he marketed Zimbabwe to potential investors at the just-ended 5th Global Business Forum on Africa.
Speaking to Zimbabwean journalists after a panel discussion on rethinking business in Zimbabwe, Prof Ncube said the country was addressing concerns raised by investors around facilitating the ease of doing business.
“We expect a delegation from Dubai to visit Zimbabwe soon,” said Prof Ncube. “We have had conversations with Government officials who have assured us that they will send a delegation to look deep into the opportunities in Zimbabwe to invest in.
“Zimbabwe is open for business. Zimbabwe is reforming so as to lower risks. Zimbabwe is putting in place tax incentives and other incentives, including the environment to do business, for investors to come.”
On the ease of doing business, Prof Ncube said: “We are resolving all the issues that investors are concerned about. The concerns from the investors were; do we have enough incentives and have we dealt with the liquidity issues and how about the issue of power and power imports?
“My answer was that the power shortage was really caused by drought and of course the power outages are also an opportunity for investment in solar energy and other power production strategies. Sometimes it is a crisis, but at times it is also an opportunity.”
Prof Ncube said the country had introduced its own currency to deal with liquidity challenges arising from the previous use of foreign currency.
“If you use foreign currency, you don’t have the leeway or flexibility, but now we do and we are able to resolve liquidity issues,” he said. “We are also generating enough foreign currency into Zimbabwe.”
Prof Ncube said there was potential for strong business synergies between Zimbabwe and the UAE in various sectors of the economy.
He said Zimbabwe had a lot to learn from the UAE, which was also keen to invest in various fields in Zimbabwe.
“There is a lot to learn from UAE in terms of infrastructure development and being a global hub,” he said. “They have a great airline, Emirates, but there is also a great opportunity for investment partnership as Zimbabwe.
“They are one of the biggest buyers of our gold and diamonds. They are also keen to invest in the tourism sector, pharmaceutical sector and the textile industry in Zimbabwe and also in the mining sector, so we see potential in all these areas.”
Zimbabwe intended to lure cash-rich investors from UAE to exploit opportunities in mining, tourism and manufacturing when it engaged them at the 5th Global Business Forum on Africa 2019.
The GBF Africa encourages international revenue flows into Africa by engaging decision-makers on the global investment scene.
The Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry organised the GBF Africa 2019 under the theme, “Scale Up Africa”, which underscored the centrality of cross-border cooperation in supporting and scaling up Africa’s next phase of sustainable economic growth and development.
Also speaking to Zimbabwean journalists on the sidelines of the fifth GBF Africa, Environment, Tourism and Hospitality Industry Minister Mangaliso Ndlovu said Government is crafting tourism strategies for each province as a way of promoting and marketing all the country’s tourist destinations in the country.
Minister Ndlovu said Victoria Falls had been over-marketed as a tourist destination and there was need to promote other destinations that could reap the country the much needed foreign currency. “In the next few months, we are going to change the architecture of our tourism,” said Minister Ndlovu. “We have over-marketed the Victoria Falls, but Zimbabwe is way bigger than Victoria Falls. There are several other tourism destinations in the country and we want to open Zimbabwe up. I was discussing with the Minister of Finance and Economic Development (Professor Mthuli Ncube) that we also need to invest in our domestic connectivity.
“Someone in Masvingo can hardly go to Kariba because it means you have to go by road. That is something that we are seriously looking into. By next year, we should be marketing tourism destinations in all our provinces.
“We will be developing a tourism strategy for each and every province. This is our next target for next year. Tourism is quick win if we put our heads together and I am happy we have the Treasury support on that.”
Minister Ndlovu said their visit to Dubai was highly successful and they had several engagements with potential investors in the field of hotel construction.
“The level of interest in Zimbabwe is amazing,” he said. “The President marketed Zimbabwe so well and we saw people scrambling for him afterwards. We have had interesting engagements in the line of tourism and we were quite clear that we are opening up investments in tourism sector, particularly for hotel infrastructure and hospitality.”