THE country’s largest hotel operator, the Zimbabwe Sun Leisure group, which owns and controls the Zimsun brand and Monomatapa Crowne Plaza, is set to construct a hotel along the shores of
Lake Victoria in Uganda.
The group sent an exploration team to Uganda on a feasibility study to assess the piece of land last month.
Industry sources privy to the deliberations at the hospitality concern told businessdigest this week that the Ugandan multi-million dollar venture would be constructed to harness benefits from the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (Chogm) summit to be hosted by Uganda in 2007.
Early this month, Ugandan president Yoweri Museveni led a high-powered business delegation to Zimbabwe, looking for possible business partners and new investors.
By the time Museveni came to Zimbabwe, the Zimsun delegation had already departed for Uganda.
Zimsun chief executive officer Shingi Munyeza could not be reached for comment as he was said to be attending a meeting in South Africa.
Ugandan Minister of Tourism, Trade and Industry Edward Rugamayo, who accompanied Museveni on his three-day state visit, said his country had no foreign currency problems, something which a number of local firms found to be enticing.
Rugamayo was responding to questions from local businessmen who wanted to know what sort of incentives Uganda offered to foreign investors.
“We do not have any restrictions on foreign currency or what you can get from the banks, we do not even need receipts or to know how much forex you have or what you have purchased,” he said.
“We now have the problem of the shilling appreciating against the United States dollar. We have plenty of forex.”
Rugamayo also told the Zimbabwean businessmen that their banks were charging a 25% interest rate, which he described “as too high”.
Due to the economic and political problems that have affected Zimbabwe over the past four years, a number of firms have been setting up operations in the region to hedge against the crisis.
The regional expansion drive also meant that local firms could access foreign currency easily when compared to Zimbabwe.
Analysts say the move in Uganda cements the group’s ambitions to spread its wing on the continent. The group has operations in South Africa.
Established in 1968, Zimsun has plans to roll out a lucrative casino project.
Last year, the group demerged its property arm, Dawn Properties which was subsequently listed on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE) in September last year. Currently Zimsun has a 19, 69% equity in the property concern.