In an interview with the Zimbabwe Independent in Gwanda this week, Canning said although companies were pleased with the gradual stabilisation of the economy since the formation of the inclusive government in February, the current political impasse was of great concern and was hindering significant investment.
“Recently, several (British) companies were in the country to have a hard look at the investment climate here,” he said. “They noted much improvement on the economic front since February but they are concerned with the continued land invasions, lack of security of tenure and sound legal framework to protect investment.”
Canning said the companies wanted firm guarantees that their investments would be protected and their operations not interfered with by government.
“Once the provisions of the global political agreement are fulfilled, I am certain significant investment would be made in Zimbabwe and British companies are ready to move in, in a big way. But for now everything is being watched closely,” he said.
He said the inclusive government presents “a real opportunity to move this country forward. There is a long and difficult road ahead, but there is opportunity, if the will is there and the GPA is implemented in full to move Zimbabwe forward from the terrible years which it emerged from”.
However, Canning refused to comment on his country’s position on the proposed indigenisation policy.
Zimbabwe plans to grab a 51% stake in foreign-owned firms within 60 days of gazetting the Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Act regulations.
The regulations seek to transfer ownership of any foreign-owned businesses valued at
US$500 000 or above to indigenous Zimbabweans in terms of the Indigenisation and Empowerment Act passed in 2007.
On the removal of sanctions, Canning said he fails “to see how measures targeted at 201 individuals can hurt people in the streets”.
“As President (Jacob) Zuma said when he was here recently that we should not worry about limited sanctions, they would be taken care of once the GPA provisions are taken care of,” Canning added.