BY TAURAI MANGUDHLA
INDUSTRY minister Sekai Nzenza says she has held crucial meetings with European and US investors who have shown interest in deploying capital into the mining and motor car industries.
Speaking exclusively to businessdigest this week, Nzenza discounted concerns that a tough investment climate that has been highlighted by policy flip flops in President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government and currency volatilities have precipitated investor fatigue in Zimbabwe and held off foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows.
High costs of doing business and a volatile political climate have compounded the problem.
Zimbabwe has been receiving only a fraction of up to US$5 billion in FDI annually, which has been flowing into its regional neighbours.
Coupled with this have been the currency crisis and hyperinflation that have eroded savings and affected business.
The Industry minister said a significant number of investors who had met her recently preferred to do it under the radar but had shown real interest to return.
“Some investors hate to make noise because of competition, but a lot is happening,” Nzenza told businessdigest.
“We have investors from the United States of America and Germany who will be meeting me about investment into the motor industry and a lot more have made commitments in mining. Investors that already have a presence in the country are making further commitments and expanding like the case of Lafarge Cement Zimbabwe which has delivered already on part of its total US$25 million expansion drive,” Nzenza said.
She said the government had kicked off a programme to work with fertiliser firms to help them scale up production following years of underperforming.
These include ZFC, Windmill and the Kwekwe-based Sable Chemicals.
“To attract foreign capital, the ministry is working closely with the Zimbabwe Investment and Development Agency, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and other relevant government departments,” Nzenza said.
But success of the government’s ambitious plans would hinge on access to capital and technical expertise.
“We are trying to make sure what could not be done in a long period of time happens quickly,” Nzenza said.
Investors have generally been wary of committing capital to Zimbabwe after the government failed to address the concerns that they have raised.
Several major investments signed and announced by the government since Mnangagwa came to power in 2007 are yet to take off.
Nzenza said after unveiling a National Quality Policy, the Pharmaceutical Strategy and Leather Strategy, plans to launch tobacco and cotton strategies were underway.
The tobacco and cotton strategies were currently under consideration in Cabinet, she said.