Germany has become one of the latest European countries to warm up to Zimbabwe’s invitation to invest in the country following successive visits by prospective investor delegations to Harare over the last two weeks.
German investors are lining projects in various sectors, with one of the European country’s top energy companies, Holt Energy, confirming plans to inject US$7 million in a solar energy project in Zimbabwe this year.
Holt Energy group director-general Dr Hendrik Holt said the country’s renewed push to do business had attracted his company.
“First of all, we are a business; as a business, we look for opportunities in countries. We are looking for opportunities where other energy companies have not been yet,” said Dr Holt. Zimbabwe is so much easier than other African countries. It has a lot of energy needs. It also has a very cooperative Government.”
Although Zimbabwe continued to be tagged negatively by some western media organisations, Dr Holt added, the country had “huge potential” because of Government’s new political and economic trajectory.
“We see this as an opportunity. Zimbabwe has had a difficult past, but you have had a new opening and a new start. This country has a lot of potential . . .
“From our own point (of view), it (Zimbabwe) has huge potential. It is an English-speaking country (and) this is, for us, an ideal situation,” he said.
In an interview with The Sunday Mail, Zimbabwe’s chief envoy to Germany, Ambassador Paul Chikawa, said investors from Europe’s biggest economy were keen on boosting engagement with Harare.
“The story is that this has been work in progress, some of it had been done by my predecessor,” he said.
“I have been in Germany for four months, but it may be recalled that in 2018, after the elections, a significant delegation of multi-sectorial business people visited the country.
“They included potential investors from various fields such as mining, agriculture, pharmaceuticals and manufacturing.
“It may also be recalled that when German Chancellor Angela Merkel became president of the G20, Germany adopted the policy to improve contact with Africa.
“Through this initiative, Germany is promoting strong economic ties with African countries.”
He said the country’s engagement and re-engagement drive naturally dovetails with Berlin’s renewed policy thrust with Africa.
Ambassador Chikawa encouraged local authorities to provide an enabling environment to investors, as this would lure additional suitors.
“The coming in of more investors will depend on these early overtures that have been made. We would want other investors to be inspired and this can only be done if we retain those that have shown initial interest.
“Germany is the largest economy in Europe and is, therefore, a strategic target for us.”
Holt Holding Group is present in more than 16 countries around the world and invests in infrastructure, energy transition and agricultural projects.
This latest visit by German investors is part of the Government’s economic diplomacy, where diplomats in foreign missions are judged on their ability to boost local exports of goods and services.
The initiative is enshrined in the Zimbabwe National Trade Policy Vision and Export Promotion Strategy launched by President Mnangagwa last year.