BUSINESS WRITER 13 August 2017
HARARE – The Special Economic Zones Authority (Seza) has begun hunting for
a new chief executive officer who will spearhead the country’s quest for
increased foreign direct investment through Special Economic Zones (SEZs).
SEZs allow investors to operate under special conditions that are
different from the rest of the economy and give investors more privileges.
Seza chairperson Gideon Gono said the authority was inviting suitable
candidates from across the world to apply “for this prestigious and
“This chief executive role requires a highly-experienced entrepreneurial
leader who will work with SEZs to create a highly sustainable and balanced
growth-oriented special economic zones model in Zimbabwe,” he said.
The incumbent is expected to be responsible for all day-to-day operations
of the authority and to ensure compliances with applicable laws and
regulations as well as policies and regulations set forth by the board.
Gono, who was in June appointed to head the Seza board, said the chief
executive will also be responsible for creating an environment that
enables effective partnership with government agencies, private industry
players, Diasporans and zone investors to create new businesses, products,
services in the specialised areas.
The chief executive will be mandated to build new financing strategies and
help in implementation incentives policies to enable SEZs deliver on
foreign currency earnings, world-class infrastructure building, employment
creation and balanced national growth.
“The chief executive is required to have a strong comprehension of the
interconnected influences that, labour, environment, science, politics,
economics, industry, media and social change dynamics play in SEZs issues
which are all collectively needed to gain a highly developed political and
business strategic awareness,” he added.
Market experts said the incoming chief executive already has his job cut
out for him and should come with strategies to attract new foreign capital
and compete with neighbouring countries such as Mozambique and South
Africa that are in the process of setting up SEZs and have over the years
beaten Zimbabwe in attracting foreign direct investment.
Zimbabwe’s foreign direct investment has been steadily declining from an
all-time high of $545 million in 2014 to $319 million last year, according
to the World Investment Report.
Gono said with the SEZ Authority setting up the development zones from
scratch across the country either as privately-owned, private-public
partnership or government-owned, it was imperative the successful
candidate has extensive experience doing this previously.
“The learning curve must be as short as possible,” he said.
Among other qualifications, the new chief executive should have at least
10 years industry experience within special economic zones and preferably
with experience within South East Asia or Africa.
The idea of SEZs was mooted in 1959 in Ireland with the intention to
promote investment in deprived areas with incentives that might be
unaffordable, unpopular or unnecessary if applied nationally.
With over 4 300 SEZs globally, China has successfully perfected the
concept as the Asian giant’s incredible economic growth is attributed to
special economic zones which were introduced in the early 1980s when the
country opened itself to the rest of the world and cemented its place on
the global stage as a major economic player.