The Zimbabwe Investment Authority (ZIA) says the perception of Zimbabwe as a highly corrupt country, coupled with economic and political instability, make it difficult to attract foreign direct investment (FDI).
Chief executive Richard Mbaiwa, told a government-sponsored stakeholders’ workshop on image building that, in addition, perceived bad governance and poor infrastructure have made the country undesirable for FDI.
“These (negative perceptions) hold back the image of the country as an investment destination and consequently the country is not attracting significant levels of investment consummate to our resource endowments,” said Mbaiwa on Tuesday.
In 2015, Zimbabwe attracted US$421 million in FDI inflows but still lags its regional peers Mozambique and Zambia who, despite registering significant declines, received US$3, 7 billion and US$1, 6 billion in investment.
Last month, ZIA chairman Nigel Chanakira said Zimbabwe had lost potential investments worth nearly US$3 billion in 2015 as a result of bureaucracy and corruption.
The southern African country is also losing at least US$1 billion annually to the vice, with public officials, police and local government officials among the worst offenders, according to a recent report by watchdog Transparency International (TI).
It has fared dismally in a major global corruption index, and ranked at 150 out of 168 countries, according to results of a survey published by TI early this year.
Mbaiwa, however, said Zimbabwe’s educated human capital, good weather and numerous tourist attractions put it in good stead if the fundamentals improve.
“Zimbabwe has made significant progress in reforming and improving various areas of doing business in the country.
It is necessary to make visible these positive developments and attend to the correction of the image of Zimbabwe in order to attract enhanced volumes of investment. Investment and immigration should thus act as a major pillar in the process of developing an overarching national brand,” he said.