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Zim is truly open for business: Australian investor


Harare (New Ziana) – The Zimbabwe is open for business agenda has positioned the country to receive increased foreign capital inflows with some investors already reaping benefits of the improved investment climate, an Australian listed company with interests in the country has said.

Upon assuming office in 2017, President Emmerson Mnangagwa boldly declared Zimbabwe to be open for business and proceeded with initiatives to increase investment inflows into the country to end two decades of isolation.

Zimbabwe signaled its intention to open itself up to global capital by scrapping the controversial indigenisation law which had limited foreign investors to a 49 percent shareholding in local investments.

The law has been cited as one of the reasons Zimbabwe received low foreign direct investment over the past two decades.

Just recently, the government set up the Zimbabwe Investment Development Agency, a one stop-investment centre, another important milestone in the open for business agenda.

A National Investment Policy, which outlines the country’s strategic investment options, was also put in place to increase the share of private sector investment in Zimbabwe to at least 25 percent of GDP by 2030, the year the government has earmarked to have transformed the country into an upper- middle income economy.

In light of the positive changes instituted since November 2017, one investor, Prospect Resources which is developing a lithium mine in Goromonzi just outside Harare opened up and praised the government for improving the investment climate in the country.

“Our relationship with the government of Zimbabwe is critical to our success and currently we have a strong relationship,” Prospect managing director Sam Hosack said.

“The Honorable Minister (of Mines, Winston) Chitando is an industry individual, he is a professional, worked his way through the ranks so he knows what it takes to start a mining business and he knows what it takes to bring in investment into the country so I absolutely believe he is really well rehearsed on what we are trying to do and what challenges we face. So every time we encounter these issues or do approach him we have a very receptive Ministry and I think that speaks abounds about how they are open for business.”

Hosack said the Zimbabwe government had also supported Prospect’s investment by placing the Arcadia project under a rapid results programme and granting it Special Economic Zone (SEZ) status.

The SEZ status grants Arcadia generous tax breaks, exemptions and reduction of costs on imports of raw materials and capital goods and other concessions, and is valid for 10 years.

The incentives and benefits to be received from the SEZ status, Hosack said, will also help Prospect secure financial support for the Arcadia project which is expected to be commissioned by the end of this year.

“We have been part of the rapid results programme which saw us and a handful of other projects handpicked and monitored by the President of the country and his office, so we were able to be fully permitted within a 12 to 13 month period from drilling out a reserve and that is unprecedented in our experience.

“And more lately, we have been awarded a Special Economic Zone licence and that is going to go a long way to bringing in financial support and investor confidence, so we are getting the support we need and we can see that Zimbabwe is open for business,” he said.

The renewed emphasis on the economy has resulted in an influx of investors expressing interest to invest in Zimbabwe from across the globe, including from countries that were previously hostile.

The government, in the meantime, continues to work on a host of reforms to make it easy and cheaper to invest and do business in the country by addressing issues such as corruption and streamlining investment procedures.

As a direct result of those efforts, Zimbabwe’s foreign investment inflows for 2018 rose to US$745 million, up from US$349 million the previous year.

The 2019 United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) World Investment Report applauded efforts being made to lure investors, highlighting that Zimbabwe’s FDI inflows were emerging from an “extremely low basis.”

New Ziana

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