ONLY nine out of 54 Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreements (Bippas) signed between Zimbabwe and other countries have been ratified, a cabinet minister has said.
Minister of Economic Planning and Investment Promotion Simon Khaya Moyo on Wednesday said Bippas were in various stages of completion with 16 still under negotiation, three awaiting signature while 26 are waiting ratification .
“Going forward, as another priority area Zimbabwe will continue to sign Bippas with interested partners across the world in a bid to boost investor confidence thereby attracting the much needed Foreign Direct Investment (FDI)” Moyo said.
A Bippa is a legal instrument that establishes specific rights and obligations to meet the primary purpose of protecting foreign investments against discriminatory measures like policy inconsistencies by the host state.
In principle, it ensures reciprocal encouragement, promotion and protection of investments, thus enabling conditions conducive to increase investment.
Moyo said his ministry will finalise work on creating a platform for online investment project application and processing to ensure that investors apply for investment projects online.
The bill to establish special economic zones meant to attract significant FDI would soon be presented in parliament.
The ministry will deploy regional economists to work with resident ministers to promote the decentralisation of investment in various provinces and assist in regional investment initiatives.
“They (regional economists) will be key economic advisors to resident ministers and provincial heads and advise domestic and international investors. They will assist in the crafting of provincial development plans and be key investment analysts in the provinces,” Moyo said.
To promote and attract foreign capital, countries usually come up with friendly investment policies. In this connection, investors look for investment destinations which provide most protective, hospitable and profitable climates.
Consequently, many countries have entered into Bippas which not only encourage capital flows into their own countries but also provide safe business environment for their own investors abroad. The multilateral trading system is basically an attempt by governments to make the business environment stable and predictable.
Since the main purpose of Bippas is to increase capital flow between the contracting parties and determine the conditions that shall be applicable to foreign investors in the legal system of hosting country, it is also a good opportunity for developed countries to give access to developing or less developed countries regarding new technological and industrial developments.