Editorial Comment: Ensure business visits unlock investment

via Editorial Comment: Ensure business visits unlock investment | The Herald January 30, 2015

Early last year, the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries toured some European countries to amplify Government’s efforts to re-engage with the European Union.

Countries visited include the United Kingdom, Belgium, France and Netherlands. The local business lobby group met government officials in those countries and business leaders with a clear message of re-engagement between EU and Zimbabwe.

On its part, the CZI emphasised the need for removal of the sanctions by the 28-member block as the first step and significant way of formalising the relations.

On the other hand, EU business leaders sought clarity on the empowerment policy.

The visit to the EU certainly laid the bedrock for opening up of investment flows into Zimbabwe from traditional Western countries, which had disappeared in the last decade.

Presumably, the cues sent by the industry’s lobby group visit signalled the country’s readiness to receive foreign investment, which Government is also keen on.

Since that visit, the country has received a number of business delegations from Europe with the French being the latest to assess opportunities for investment.

The French business delegation, is representing about 10 big companies, and has already held meetings with President Mugabe and other senior Government officials.

Some of the companies represented include Alstom, the global leader in power generation, power transmission and rail infrastructure. It has operations in 100 countries.

Bureau Veritas, a quality inspection firm, was already running ahead of the pack after striking an agreement with Government to assess the quality of imports, as Government seeks to curb influx of cheap foreign products that are hurting local industry.

It is expected to start operating in the country before end of March. The Consignment Based Conformity Assessment Agreement between the Government and Bureau Veritas aims to curb influx of cheap imports through inspection of goods entering the country.

Egis, a consulting and engineering group specialising in the fields of construction for transport, urban development, buildings, industry, water, environment and energy is also represented. The group is also involved in project financing, tolling, road and airport operations.

Another big company to be represented will be VINCI Construction Grands Projets, which is involved in design and building of major civil engineering structures such as tunnels, bridges, dams, liquefied natural gas storage tanks, road and rail infrastructure and buildings (skyscrapers, shopping malls, hotels and major industrial facilities.

Representatives of Eutelsat, one of the world’s leading satellite operators with capacity commercialised on 35 satellites serving users in 150 countries in Europe, Africa and Asia, will also be visiting, as will be officials from Eiffage Travaux Publics.

Eiffage Travaux Publics is involved in all fields of road and rail construction, civil engineering, sanitation and environment and earthworks. Eiffage Travaux Publics has a workforce of 21 000 employees deployed in the field, and covers three professional sectors: Roads-Regions, Civil Engineering-Regions and Major Projects.

The company has operations in France, the Spanish Peninsula and Germany, and in Africa.

France was among the countries which the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries visited early last year, to amplify Governments re-engagement efforts with the European Union.

While Zimbabwe has since adopted the Look East Policy to counter hostility from western countries, the visit by French delegation its manifestation of progress Zimbabwe has made in re-engaging our traditional sources of foreign direct investments.

As such, Government should pull all stops to ensure that such business visits translate into realisable investments which the country seriously requires to turnaround the economy.


  • comment-avatar

    “Government should pull all stops to ensure that such business visits translate into realisable investments which the country seriously requires to turnaround the economy.”
    The Herald editor makes the statement above:
    – perhaps he should also take the time to list a number of the steps that he thinks that Government should implement in order to ensure that foreign direct investment FDI takes place.
    This will require that the Herald editor think about what investors require to be motivated to make large investments.
    If he is feeling really bold, the Herald editor might speculate on the reasons why such conditions do not at present exist in Zimbabwe and why there is so little FDI. Even our good friends the Chinese have become very cautious putting money into Zimbabwe.