ZIMBABWE is ready for investment, officials at a recent business conference held in the capital Harare said.
Speaking at the Zimbabwe Outward Trade and Investment Mission titled #InvestInZim, Industry and Commerce minister Mike Bimha said interactions with the business community showed that, despite challenges, investors have confidence in Zimbabwe.
Caledonia CEO Steve Curtis: Recent measures have improved operating environment.
“The message we want you to carry is that Zimbabwe is ready for investment and we are doing all we can to see that investments come to the country,” he said.
Bimha said the government was also working on a Private-Public Partnership framework that will see the issue of PPP’s being clarified.
Deputy Mines minister Fred Moyo and France’s ambassador to Zimbabwe e Laurent Delahouse at the investment conference.
“It is still work in progress. We have discussed this in Cabinet and it will be refined as we go through the process to avoid problems we have encountered in the past and come to an agreement,” Bimha said without giving the exact date when the PPP framework would be in place.
Zimbabwe has been failing to attract significant foreign direct investment since 2009 while neighbours such as South Africa and Zambia enjoyed the lion’s share of inflows into the Sadc region.
Tourism and Hospitality Industry minister Walter Mzembi.
Last year, Zimbabwe recorded inflows of $545 million, the highest since the country embraced the multicurrency regime in 2009.
Zimbabwe has also been ranked low on ease of doing business, although there is a push in government to address concerns raised by potential investors.
Caledonia Mining Corporation chief executive officer Steve Curtis said the government in Zimbabwe had become pragmatic and pro-business.
“Recent measures have been implemented by the Zimbabwean government to improve the operating environment for gold producers,” he said.
Curtis said in October 2014 royalties were reduced to 5% from 7% comparable to the royalty rate in other African countries and in February the discount on gold sales was reduced to 1.25% from 1.5%.
Industry and Commerce minister Mike Bimha:Despite challenges, investors have confidence in Zimbabwe.
Curtis said the company had realised significant working capital benefit from selling to Fidelity Printers.
He said Caledonia’s recent contact with senior ministers and officials in government “confirms a strong focus on facilitating growth in the gold sector”.
Curtis said there was an improvement in the domestic banking climate.
Mines and Mining Development deputy minister Fred Moyo said the government has gone into four bilateral arrangements for extensive mineral exploration, and the exploration would be for close to four years.
He said the country has several minerals such as uranium and iron ore among others, which can be exploited.
Tourism and Hospitality Industry minister Walter Mzembi said the coming of the second dialogue between Zimbabwe and South Africa shows the seriousness of the countries.
“I am sure we will make great strides and this is action time,” Mzembi said.
PPC Zimbabwe managing director Njombo Lucky Lekula said the company would invest $200 million in the business in the next three years.
Lekula said the company invested $13 million in its local operations and was working on the construction of an $86 million plant in Msasa, Harare.
“There is evidence which is saying there is an effort to reform this economy and it’s starting to pay off in many ways,” he said.
He said urbanisation was on the rise in the country and in 2014, PPC sold 1.2million tonnes of cement.
Lekula said the company was operating at between 65% and 70% capacity utilisation.
The South African trade mission to Zimbabwe was organised by Mail & Guardian Africa and the Zimbabwean embassy in South Africa as a follow-up visit to the first meeting held last month in Johannesburg..