JOHANNESBURG - The Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) of South Africa could become one of the earliest investors in Zimbabwe under the new administration, with Harare saying it expects an investment of about $150million (R1.8billion) from the IDC to prop up its chemicals and fertiliser manufacturing companies.

The money will be put into Zimbabwe’s own IDC, which controls Chemplex Corporation, an investment company with investments in chemicals and fertiliser manufacturing.

Zimbabwe, which already has investments from other South African companies, including Impala Platinum, Pick * Pay, Nedbank and Tiger Wheel and Tyre, among others, has said the country is open for investment following the exit of former leader Robert Mugabe, whose policies are blamed for driving away capital.

Sources in Zimbabwe have told Business Report that the $50m investment proposal tabled by Zimbabwe last week, following a visit to the country by SA IDC officials, was now being looked into. The SA IDC delegation met retired army general, Constantino Chiwenga - now vice-president of Zimbabwe - earlier this month.

Their visit was preceded by a visit by South African businessman Robert Gumede, who said he was looking at investing about $1.2bn in Zimbabwe.