Source: Zim, China seal investment MoUs | The Herald May 8, 2017
Conrad Mwanawashe and Michael Tome
ZIMBABWE last Friday signed three Memoranda of Understanding with China’s Zhejiang Province as the country intensifies efforts to lure Chinese capital into the country.
A Chinese delegation from the Zhejiang Province was in the country last week for the Zimbabwe–China Zhejiang Province Investment Conference where the MoUs were signed. One of the three MoUs relates to the Memorandum of Co-operation between China Council for the Promotion of International Trade Zhejiang and the Ministry of Macro-Economic Planning and Investment promotion.
The second is an Aide Mémoire between the Ministry of Macro-Economic Planning and Investment Promotion and China Industrial International Group Zimbabwe while the third is a friendship MoU.
In his presentation on the new investment thrust in Zimbabwe, Secretary for Macro-Economic Planning and Investment Promotion, Dr Desire Sibanda said to achieve its potential as a catalyst for growth, investment must result in increases in the productivity of labour or the productivity of capital assets, such as infrastructure or manufacturing plant and equipment.
Special Economic Zones thus tend to catalyse such results, Dr Sibanda said. “The Government has therefore identified Special Economic Zones as a key enabler (investment vehicle) aimed at: attracting foreign direct investment, promoting industry competitiveness, resuscitating ailing industries, promoting value addition, enhancing exports and creating jobs,” said Dr Sibanda.
“Zimbabwe’s SEZs therefore focus on these types of industries which provide ripple effects in the targeted areas. Backward and forward industrial linkages are of great importance in building successful and resilient industries,” he said. To this end, the 10 Point-Plan announced by President Mugabe when delivering the State of the Nation Address in August last year, has outlined a number of priority areas.
These entail revitalising the agriculture and agro-processing value chain; advancing beneficiation and or value addition — agriculture and mining; infrastructural development — energy, water, transport and ICTs; unlocking potential of SMEs; restoring and building of confidence and stability in the financial services sector and to boost the role and enhancing the performance of State-Owned Companies (SOEs).
The SEZs model types shall include single factory, product specific industrial parks, knowledge based service and multi-sectoral wide area models among others.
Opportunities under SEZs include sectors and sub-sectors in agriculture such as fruit processing (apples, bananas, mangoes, guavas, oranges) in the Eastern Highlands, food crops and processing (maize wheat, and soya bean) targeted for Mashonaland West and Central.
Under the manufacturing sector, opportunities abound in iron and steel production, automobile manufacture, Midlands/Matabeleland, automobile manufacture in the Midlands/Bulawayo while in the mining sector opportunities are found in the gas exploration, production and distribution.
The Minister of State for Harare Metropolitan Province Mirriam Chikukwa, who was the guest of honour at the investment conference said Government recently promulgated the Special Economic Zones Act 14:34 to drive investment in SEZs. “The establishment of these zones is expected to see the country attracting foreign direct investment while at the same time creating an enabling environment for local and international trade to flourish,” said Minister Chikukwa.