FOREIGN Affairs minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi yesterday pleaded with South African entrepreneurs to start joint ventures with locals to save the country from deindustrialisation that could have contagion effects in the region. Mumbengegwi made the call while officially opening the inaugural ministerial meeting of the Zimbabwe/South Africa Bi-National Commission (BNC) in Harare.
Source: Zim pleads with SA for investment – NewsDay Zimbabwe November 3, 2016
BY PAIDAMOYO MUZULU
“It is self-evident that deindustrialising Zimbabwe is not an attractive and viable partner for South Africa or indeed for any other country. A deindustrialising Zimbabwe also eliminates the country from fully partaking in and contributing to the Sadc industrialisation strategy and roadmap,” he said.
“Such a loss would have a negative impact beyond our own national borders. Instead, in the spirit of the strategic partnership between us, I urge our two countries’ entrepreneurs and investors to exploit the opportunities that exist for joint ventures.”
The Foreign Affairs minister added: “These cross-border linkages and partnerships have the potential to create entrepreneurs, who can effectively compete regionally and even globally.”
The meeting comes as Zimbabwe has, over the years, been battling to attract foreign direct investment with limited success.
In the last five years, China has been the biggest investor in the country.
South African International Relations and Co-operation minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, in her remarks, said the two governments should implement agreements signed for the betterment of their populations.
“Our people cannot eat slogans. We should move to create an environment for co-operation, including removing double taxation. We should also adopt a matrix of implementation of agreements so that we can track progress,” she said.
The BNC is discussing a range of issues with a view to signing agreements and memorandums of understanding in areas that include transport, energy and water, health, science, technology and innovation, public services, labour and social welfare and security sectors.
The countries also agreed to work together on pushing for reforms at the United Nations and, particularly, the Security Council, which does not have a permanent member from Africa.
The BNC will reach its climax today when Presidents Robert Mugabe and Jacob Zuma meet and later on sign various agreements. Mugabe will also host a State luncheon for Zuma.