Strong investment appetite for Zim

Source: Strong investment appetite for Zim | The Sunday Mail May 5, 2019

Lincoln Towindo

Zimbabwe has elicited strong investor interest over the first quarter of the year, with investments worth over US$286 million having been approved by the Zimbabwe Investment Authority (ZIA).

Total investment projects approvals leapt to around US$18 billion last year up from about S$1,5 billion in 2017.

During the first quarter of 2018, ZIA approved investments projects worth US$1 billion, attributable to renewed investor confidence in the wake of the Second Republic.

Statistics from the investment authority show that approved foreign investments, including joint ventures, stood at US$286,3 million between January and March with 82 projects having been licensed.

The approved projects, statistics show, have the capacity to create 8 638 new jobs and collect around US$216 million in export earnings.

According to the statistics, the mining sector continues to be the biggest draw for investors with 30 licenses worth a cumulative US$76,7 million having been approved by March.

Approved projects in the mining sector are projected to create 1 857 new jobs and earn up to US$114,4 million annually.

In the manufacturing sector, 20 projects worth US$40 million were licensed with a potential to create 644 jobs.

While only one investment license was awarded in the energy sector, it accounts for the biggest investment approved so far this year at US$55 million and will create 232 new jobs.

The services (US$86,3 million) and construction (US$13 million) sectors also account for some of the biggest investments so far this year.

Of the approved investments, 50 are foreign owned while one in local, with the rest being joint ventures between local and foreign investors.

ZIA chief executive Mr Richard Mbaiwa attributed the increased investor interest to reforms being implemented by Government.

“There was a huge rise in investor interest between 2017 and 2018 as can be seen from the more than 2 000 percent increase in the value of approved projects between the two periods,” said Mr Mbaiwa.

“This can be attributed to the ushering in of the new dispensation in November 2017, which brought new impetus in the drive for both local and FDI.

“His Excellency, spearheaded this new drive by declaring that Zimbabwe is Open for Business.

“Further, key reforms were introduced such as the amendments to the indigenisation and economic empowerment laws and other ease of doing business reforms being spearheaded across all sectors and institutions.

“We see the trend of increased investor appetite continuing in 2019.

“In addition, Government has secured several investment commitments running into billions of dollars some of which are yet to be consummated as they are still at different stages of negotiations.

“Some of these commitments are expected to go through ZIA this year once negotiations are completed.”

Authorities are overhauling the country’s investment promotion architecture through streamlining investment application procedures by eradicating duplication of roles between Government agencies and eliminating bureaucracy as part of the ease of doing business reforms.

Government has already gazetted the Zimbabwe Investment and Development Agency Bill.

The proposed piece of legislation provides for the creation of a one-stop-investment centre through the collapsing of the ZIA, the Zimbabwe Special Economic Zones Authority (ZimSEZA), Zimtrade and the Joint Venture Unit in The Ministry of Finance into one organisation — ZIDA.

The ZIDA Bill is expected to be tabled before Parliament, which resumes sitting this week.