The central bank wants to revamp Homelink (Pvt) Limited to provide a facility through which Zimbabweans living outside the country can invest back home as part of efforts to stimulate diasporan remittances into the country.
Homelink is owned by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) and was formed in 2005 with the primary objective of mobilising foreign currency remittances from the diaspora.
In the 2014 mid-term monetary policy statement, RBZ governor John Mangudya said Homelink would collaborate effectively with the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange, (ZSE) Zimbabwe Investment Authority and other financial institutions to develop various investment instruments, such as high-yielding diaspora bonds, adding the central bank would also put in place appropriate risk management measures to assure Zimbabweans in the diaspora on safety of the value of their investments.
“The RBZ appreciates the contribution of the diasporans to economic development in Zimbabwe with latest figures showing remittances from the diaspora of US$412 million for the first six months of this year far exceeding the US$67 million from foreign direct investment for the same period,” he said.
“It is against this background that Homelink shall be revamping its operations to provide tailor-made products and services that meet the needs of the diasporans.”
The RBZ said for the period January to June 2014, international money transfers amounted to US$845,6 million, of which diaspora remittances were US$412,4 million and international organisations, such as NGOs, US$433,2 million.
The central bank said it had plans to continue putting in place effective systems to encourage use of formal channels by Zimbabweans outside the country as diaspora remittances remain a critical source of liquidity in the market.
In 2004, as part of opening up the capital account to allow the participation of Zimbabweans in the diaspora on the ZSE, the exchange control limit of such participation was increased from 40% to the current 70%.
“The bank continues to recognise the important role that international remittances play in the development of emerging economies (and) as such, diasporans play a critical role in economic development of their home economies,” said Mangudya.
“In order to allow Zimbabweans in the diaspora to fully participate in the economic development of their country, all non-resident Zimbabweans shall be permitted to invest in any listed counter on the ZSE without any limit, that is up to 100%.”