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‘Political risks scaring away Dutch investors’

GOVERNMENT’s policy inconsistency and lack of investment security remain huge obstacles to promoting investment in Zimbabwe, Dutch ambassador to Harare Gera Sneller has said.

Kudzai Kuwaza

In an exclusive interview with the Zimbabwe Independent on Wednesday, Sneller said despite Zimbabwe being strategically placed with impressive human capital and vast mineral wealth, it is still not an ideal investment destination.

“There is a great number of investors that are really interested in coming to Zimbabwe,” Sneller said, “but the business environment is still not conducive to investment.”

She added: “If I look at Dutch businesspeople, they are willing to take risks. However, they are not willing and not able to take on political risks.”

“They need to know that when they invest in a country they are welcome and they do not have that feeling when it comes to Zimbabwe because they do not feel that their investments would be secure here.”

Sneller, who is also the Dutch ambassador to Zambia and Malawi, said the conflicting messages sent out by government ministers over key policies fuelled investor insecurity.

The violation of the Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreements in which Dutch farmers have not been compensated also discouraged investment in Zimbabwe, she said.

There were cases where court orders have been ignored following farm invasions which demonstrated that the rule of law is not always respected, she added.

“Zimbabwe has a great constitution; implement it. It does not cost much money, but that will make a huge change.”

Sneller said her embassy would hold the Dutch Good Growth Fund (DGGF) seminar in Harare on Thursday next week.

The DGGF is a 700 million euro revolving fund which offers Dutch entrepreneurs alternative financing for international projects in emerging markets in Africa, Latin America and Asia.

Sneller said the fund is aimed at empowering the private sector in Zimbabwe in various sectors, which include agriculture, horticulture and tourism.

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