ZIMBABWE Investment Authority chief executive Richard Mbaiwa (pictured) says the authority is not to blame for the delays in the materialisation of approved investment projects in the country, pointing instead to the unfavourable investment climate.
By Fidelity Mhlanga
Mbaiwa’s remarks come at a time when most of the projects approved by the body have not materialised as investors shun the country due to toxic and inconsistant policies.
“Investment by its nature takes time.
Sometimes when you even want to build a house you can’t build today it takes time,” Mbaiwa told businessdigest on the sidelines of an Indian business delegation meeting on Wednesday. “It is not like every person who is an investor has heaps of money. Sometimes they have to go back to mobilise money from credit companies.”
The country in 2015 hosted more than 80 business delegations from several countries among them Germany, United Kingdom, France, China, Russia, Turkey, South Africa and Nigeria, but the visits did not bear fruit.
Last year Zimbabwe slipped four places to 161 on the World Bank’s ease of doing business rankings from 157 out of 190 countries in 2015. Mbaiwa said, “Investment is a long process. If we look at those countries that have been coming they present projects to us and we licence them. We hope those who had come will eventually come back and invest,”
“It’s a continuous improving process. Let us look at the constraints that are there. We got a lot of these things (retrogressive policies) being reviewed. In terms of them engaging partners, at the moment we want more investment capital in the country. There are so many projects that are in the pipeline,” Mbaiwa added.
In 2015, Zimbabwe attracted US$421 million in foregn direct investment inflows which was a plunge from US$545 million in 2014 and 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.
Chairman of the National Small Industries Corporation Ltd, Ravindra Nath, who is part of the Indian business delegation, said he was here on an exploratory mission to find opportunities to invest in the country.
“This is the first exploratory mission we have taken. Our people would like to understand the opportunities available, the ease of doing business and quantify the investment that needs to be made as we move step by step,” Rath said “Indian businesses have capacity. We would like to increase the number of businesses in the country.
“I know there are challenges here but we would like to see how best to deal with them.”