via CZI plans conference for European investors | The Zimbabwean 14.01.14 by Farai Mabeza
The Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries is to hold an investment conference in June as it intensifies efforts to reengage the international community.
CZI president Charles Msipa told The Zimbabwean that CZI would use its forthcoming tour to the European Union member countries to invite potential investors to the conference so that they could “see and experience Zimbabwe”.
“We want to complement government efforts to attract foreign direct investment into Zimbabwe and open dialogue about the country and its potential as an investment destination for Europe,” Msipa said.
Msipa said invitations to the conference would be extended to the entire international community.
Zimbabwe’s economy has been suffering a liquidity crisis and has been largely shunned by western investors due to political instability, a lack of respect of human rights and fears over the indigenisation policy.
The indigenisation law compels foreign companies to cede 51 per cent of their shareholding to local blacks and has been blamed for scaring away investment.
Local and foreign-owned companies have, over the years, downscaled or closed, resulting in massive unemployment.
“The reality is that our country needs capital inflows and foreign direct investment. We have not had significant FDI for a number of years,” Msipa said.
FDI in Zimbabwe since 2009 has failed to reach the $500m mark while other countries in the region have accrued billions during the same period.
The CZI president said members of the private sector travelling to Europe would hold frank discussions with their European counterparts about the challenges in the country.
“We will be realistic about what our challenges are. Every investment decision involves an assessment of risk. As businesspeople we make decisions looking at these factors,” he said. “I don’t think there is a perfect environment for investment.”
Msipa was unfazed by the apparent absence of official reengagement between Harare and Brussels.
“Most of the major EU countries have embassies in Harare, which have had official contact with the government, but we are treating this as a purely business-to-business initiative.”
He said strongly performing sectors, such as tourism, stood to benefit from this programme.
“There are many areas where the EU has expertise and resources such as information technology and electricity generation,” Msipa said.