ZIMBABWE is ripe for Middle Eastern investment in mining, agritech and financial technology, according to the chairman of CBZ Holdings, Zimbabwe’s biggest bank.
Marc Holtzman, who is also chairman at the Bank of Kigali, says Middle Eastern investors are already present in Zimbabwe and Rwanda, with Dubai Ports having a strong presence in both countries.
“With a new board in place since February last year, CBZ aims to reach global investors and become a conduit for foreign investment in Zimbabwe, including Middle Eastern investors,” Holtzman told Arabian Business.
“In particular, the UAE is everywhere and dominant,” he said. “It’s been especially aggressive through strategic investors,” he said.
The UAE is the second-largest investing country in Africa, second only to China, according to the Financial Times’ FDI Intelligence. Abu Dhabi Fund for Development (ADFD) has funded more than 66 projects in 28 African nations to a value of $16,6 billion.
Today, there are 17 000 African businesses registered with the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry — many of these companies leverage Dubai as a base to attract investment into their own countries.
As the country with the most minerals per sq.km, Zimbabwe offers an abundance of natural resource investments, the chairman said. The country is one of the world’s largest gold, diamond and platinum producers, as well as home to vast reserves of tantalum and lithium.
“Unlike other parts of Africa, where lots of the mining activities involve deep drilling or the resources are hard to access, in Zimbabwe it’s very accessible,” Holtzman said.
Referring to government estimates that the Zimbabwean economy contracted by around 6% in 2019 with bleaker predictions for 2020, the chairman insisted the current market landscape still offers opportunities.
“As recently as 18 months ago, our bank had a market capitalisation of $14 million, because the market was pricing in the country risk of the past. Today, the market capitalisation exceeds $500 million. Growth will be exponential,” Holtzman said. — newZWire.