Local and international companies are looking favourably at Zimbabwe as its energy and mining sectors undergo reform.
For the first time in over 35 years, President Emmerson Mnangagwa has managed to accomplish what none before him have done; he has attracted the attention of the local and international community for the right reasons…. investment and not sanction.
Mr. Mnangagwa hit the ground running after Robert Mugabe was embarrassingly ousted in November 2017. Almost immediately, President Mnangagwa swiftly dealt with his country’s chronically poor economy by incentivising domestic investment, modifying debt repayment, tackling inefficiencies in State-owned entities and wooing communities where foreign direct investment is a possibility.
His efforts paid off. In February, U.S.-based multinational General Electric (GE) appeared before parliament to pitch its interest for investing in Zimbabwe’s Batoka Hydro Power plant project. GE’s executives also expressed interest in the country’s transport, power and healthcare sectors.
AfricaIndy quoted GE’s director of project development Reginald Max as saying, “We want to provide financial and technical support to the government. Zimbabwe is facing challenges because of limited financial resources. As a Zimbabwean I know my country is generally misunderstood. We want to demonstrate to the world that there are opportunities in Zimbabwe.”
Mr. Mnangagwa’s plan for economic reformation also included internal buy-in. According to Bloomberg Zimbabwe’s central bank notified other banks that it was in the planning stages of a new initiative to sell gold and tobacco bonds to citizens outside the country as a means of investment and to “encourage money flows and exports.”
Abroad, Zimbabwe’s radical change has garnered support from China. The country has pledged to “enhance” development strategies and economic development. The UK’s Foreign Secretary said: “This (Zimbabwe’s new leadership) can now be a turning point, a moment of hope for this beautiful country, full of potential. For as long as the President acts on his words, then Britain is willing to work alongside him and offer all the support we can.”
According to the state-owned Herald newspaper, the AU, EU and UN have also pledged support.
LEX Africa Zimbabwean member is Scanlen & Holderness