JOHANNESBURG – Zimbabwe took its charm offensive to South Africa’s economic heartland, Gauteng, yesterday, telling potential investors that it had undertaken reforms needed to attract capital.
The country's ambassador to South Africa, David Hamadziripi, said that Harare had introduced Special Economic Zones (SEZ), repatriation of funds and cut red tape to enhance ease of doing business in the country.
Hamadziripi said Zimbabwe was also pushing to adopt the rand as a legal currency in a multicurrency system and had undertaken tax reforms.
“What is happening in Zimbabwe should encourage you to be part of the process of redirecting our economy towards growth,” he said.
“Our president (Emmerson Mnangagwa) has committed in words and action (his intentions) to create a market-led, private sector-driven economy in Zimbabwe.”
Last month, Mnangagwa promised a raft of radical reforms to attract investments to the country which has been riddled with currency shortages and stagnant economy.
The president said his administration would foster policies that attracted both national and global capital to help grow and transform Zimbabwe into a middle-income economy by 2030.
South Africa is Zimbabwe’s largest trading partner, with imports from South Africa totalling $2.7billion (R38bn) last year and exports to South Africa reaching $1.31bn.
Zimbabwe Investment Authority chief operations officer Sichoni Takoleza said by approvals South African investments in Zimbabwe amounted to $5.6bn in January 2018, $15.9 million (2017), $296.48m (2016) and $702.7m (2015).
Takoleza said the estimated value of remittances to Zimbabwe globally amounted to $830m, of which 47percent was from South Africa.
Zimbabwe’s SEZ authority chief executive, Edwin Kondo, said the zones had been set up in the capital city Harare, Bulawayo, Victoria Falls, Beit Bridge, Mutare and Norton.
Zimbabwe’s economic growth was currently at 1.8percent, according to the World Bank.
Gauteng Premier David Makhura’s special adviser, Mduduzi Mbada, called on the Southern African Development Community bloc to work at maintaining peace and attracting foreign direct investment to the region.
“We must take advantage and co-ordinate the continent into one trade area. As a region we need to grow and develop together. We are going to Zimbabwe to invest. We will indeed make sure that we invest in Zimbabwe,” Mbada said.
Pamwe Capital Partners chief investment officer Cleopas Sanangura said Zimbabwe offered opportunities in mining, agriculture, energy, manufacturing, tourism and infrastructure development.
“Why invest in Zimbabwe? Zimbabwe has highly skilled and literate workers. There are 26 farms available for lease that are owned by the Reserve Bank. They are looking for serious farmers to invest in them and turn them around,” said Sanangura.
“There are lots of opportunities in Zimbabwe. We are managing your risk because we know the market.”
Hamadziripi presented Zimbabwe as a country of immeasurable opportunity, saying it would rise again through the efforts of its people.
He said fiscal, monetary, institutional and governance reforms were being undertaken to increase the ease of doing business in Zimbabwe and restructuring its economy and expand infrastructure.
“In short, the government is determined to ensure all investments grow in a safe (economic) environment.”