IN an economic environment thirsty of fresh capital, diversified media group the Alpha Media Holdings (AMH), publishers of NewsDay, Zimbabwe Independent and Standard, has come up with innovative ways of spurring positive change.
Championed by leading business weekly, the Zimbabwe Independent, in partnership with PiggyBank Advisor, the Zimbabwe Investor Forum goes live on Thursday next week at the Harare International Conference Centre (HICC) under the themed “Sustainable long-term investments options”. This is part of our contribution to nation-building through creating new platforms to stimulate debate between the state and other key actors such as business and citizens.
Under target is a huge market of policy makers, parastatals executives, insurance firms, individuals, development finance institutions and financial service providers. Others are private equity investors, legal practitioners, property developers, regulators, academia, diplomats and investors.
From the indaba line-up, we are out to make it the largest annual event with tangible results as the conference provides leverage on networking and showcasing investment opportunities in Zimbabwe.
Thursday next week will be a busy day as experts will address interesting topics around the economy and investment outlook, reforming Zimbabwe’s parastatals and state-owned enterprises, and innovative investment options into utilities. Other key areas to be discussed are corruption and corporate governance issues in the public sector, derivatives and crypto currencies. Companies will also get an opportunity to showcase investment products and opportunities.
The day will end with a glamorous event. Individuals and corporates that have been instrumental in promoting domestic and international investment flows will be honoured during the awards night.
“To this end as Alpha Media Holdings we want to host a serious investment conference that looks at our SOEs (state-owned enterprises) with a view of them attracting sustainable long term investments,” AMH chief executive officer Kenias Mafukidze said.
“The intention is to mobilise not just international but also tap into our local investors so they think long term. We have a vibrant insurance industry which should be encouraged to put resources into long term investments.”
At peak in the mid-1990s parastatals contributed 40% (US$4,5 billion) to Zimbabwe’s gross domestic product (GDP) of US$9 billion. In 2021, the ministry of Finance said the figure had plummeted to 12% due to mismanagement and undercapitalisation.
In 2017, it was estimated that 38 of 93 state firms at the time had incurred a combined loss of US$270 million in one year. Many more were bleeding and technically insolvent. This was a disaster. Under normal circumstances, state firms provide cheaper services to the public, and because of their size, they must benefit the economy as private business is forced to reduce prices. The investor conference comes at an opportune time considering that Zimbabwe only received a quarter of about US$2 billion flowing into its regional peers such as Mozambique.
According to the Zimbabwe Investment and Development Agency (Zida), 126 new investment projects were approved in 2021, with an investment value of US$557,7 million. These new investments exclude projects that were applying for renewals.
Foreign direct investment (FDI) into Africa fell by 16% in 2020 to US$40 billion from US$47 billion in 2019, according to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD)’s World Investment Report 2021.
Investment, be it local or foreign, is an important factor of economic growth.
But for the country to attract and grow investments, the government has to address the following issues which potential investors have raised: uncertainty and currency volatilities, interpretation, or enforcement of existing regulations, legal system, taxation regime, infrastructure issues and trade barriers. Consistency in policy pronouncements and implementation are key to building confidence with investors. As we have said endlessly, government must implement long term monetary policies that guarantee business certainty.
The conference will dissect these issues. Above all, the indaba will give an opportunity to government and business to market the country as a safe and good investment destination.
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- For registrations, sponsorships, and exhibitions, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call +263 773 417 267.