President on charm offensive . . .To woo S. Korean investors 

Source: President on charm offensive . . .To woo S. Korean investors | The Sunday Mail

President on charm offensive . . .To woo S. Korean investors
President Mnangagwa has left for South Korea to attend the inaugural Korea-Africa Summit.

Hebert Zharare in SEOUL, South Korea

PRESIDENT MNANGAGWA, who is expected here today, is set to take advantage of the inaugural South Korea-Africa Summit this week to engage in high-level talks with representatives of major companies and government officials, as part of efforts to boost the low levels of trade and investments between Harare and Seoul.

During the summit, where he will join other Heads of State and Government from about 33 African countries, the President is scheduled to meet his South Korean counterpart, President Yoon Suk Yeol, and address the plenary session.

The indaba is pencilled in for Tuesday and Wednesday.

President Mnangagwa left for Korea yesterday evening and was seen off at the Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport by Vice Presidents Dr Constantino Chiwenga and Kembo Mohadi, Defence Minister Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri, service chiefs and senior Government officials.

VP Chiwenga will be Acting President until June 5, after which VP Mohadi will take over until the President’s return.

Zimbabwe Ambassador to Japan Mr Stewart Nyakotyo, who also covers South Korea, told The Sunday Mail that the low levels of trade between the two countries were because of the existing information gap.

“We note that the major problem why South Korean companies have not invested heavily in Zimbabwe is that there has been insufficient information regarding trade and investment opportunities in Zimbabwe, which would attract foreign direct investment from Koreans,” said Ambassador Nyakotyo.

“Therefore, we have decided to engage Korean institutions and investors so that we will interest them in opportunities available in our country.”

According to the Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency, first-quarter (January to March) imports from South Korea grew to US$5,3 million, compared to US$3,2 million in the same period last year.

Exports to the Asian country also rose to U$3 million from US$203 448 last year.

Zimbabwe, Ambassador Nyakotyo said, was actively raising awareness on investment opportunities that were available in the country.

“On the programme, His Excellency, the President, is due to meet his counterpart, President (Yoon Suk Yeol), and will also address the plenary session,” he added.

“Besides the plenary session, the President is also going to attend the business forum and will have the opportunity to meet with more than 200 representatives of Korean companies that are taking party in the business conference.

“We also expect the President to address a conference on agriculture and a special session on food and minerals security. There will also be some bilateral meetings that His Excellency will hold with various business leaders in Korea with a view to promoting Zimbabwe as an investment destination.”

Meetings are also lined up with Korean business executives.

“A number of accords will be signed and the first one will be the Trade and Investment Promotion Framework Agreement, which will be signed by our Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (Ambassador Frederick Shava) and the Korean Minister of Finance, Industry and Trade,” he said.

“The second agreement that Zimbabwe will be signing is the Air Services Agreement and also one on agriculture. Besides these three, the Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce will also be penning two agreements — one with the Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the other one with the Korea International Trade Association. All these agreements are meant to create a conducive environment for Korean investment in Zimbabwe.”

The Government, he said, was working with a number of Korean institutions, the major one being the Korea International Trade Association, which signed an agreement with ZimTrade in March last year.

More Korean businesses are expected to be onboarded on outward business missions to Zimbabwe.

It is understood that Korean financial institutions were not yet exposed to the Zimbabwean investment climate, which the authorities will try to address during the summit.

“We will be talking to the Zimbabwe Investment and Development Agency (ZIDA) to arrange a Korea-Zimbabwe business forum, where ZIDA can then engage, together with ZimTrade and other institutions, and potential Korean investors,” said Amb Nyakotyo.

“We also believe that the key institutions here in Korea — Korea Eximbank and K-SURE (Korea Trade Insurance Corporation) — underwrite Korean businesses to invest in Zimbabwe . . . They are key stakeholders in the process. We have had meetings with them, and Government has also communicated with the Ministry of Finance and Economy of Korea to try and create conditions that would enable Korean businesses to enter the Zimbabwean market.

“So far, we have a few that are operating, and I am glad that Hyundai has started selling vehicles in Zimbabwe through a dealer, but we would like them to invest in actual production. This is why we have been talking to them and saying we need technology transfer for industries in Korea to invest in productive processes in Zimbabwe.”

According to the Fortune Global 500 list (2022), some of the top Korean companies are Samsung Electronics, Hyundai, SK, KIA, POSCO, LG Electronics, Korea Electronic Power Corporation, Hanwha, HD Hyundai and GS Caltex.