Mauritius and the British Virgin Islands remain an excellent route for structuring foreign investments into Zimbabwe with the two making up the top 10 of source countries for investment since 2009 while Nigeria makes the list largely on the back of the Dangote Group’s proposed investment of $1.2 billion. According to the latest statistics (2009-2015) from the Zimbabwe Investment Authority, Mauritius is the largest source of investment flows accounting for $4.56 billion while the British Virgin Islands is on sixth at $760.54 million.
Mauritius combines the traditional advantages of being an offshore financial centre (no capital gains tax, no withholding tax, no capital duty on issued capital, confidentiality of company information, exchange liberalisation and free repatriation of profits and capital) with the distinct advantages of being a treaty -based jurisdiction with a substantial network of treaties and DTAAs. The British Virgin Islands offers flexibility for investment managers to set up their fund vehicles.
China is the second largest source country at $2.81 billion with the most significant amount of $1.09 billion coming through in 2011. Last year, the Zimbabwe Investment Authority approved projects worth $188.5 million from the country mostly destined for the manufacturing sector ($74.54 million), mining $57.59 million and construction $42.38 million.
Other top source countries include South Africa at $1.54 billion, USA $1.6 billion and Nigeria $1.45 billion. The bulk of the Nigerian investment were approved in 2015 for the Dangote group whose strategist was in the country last week.
According to the figures, $400 million will be invested in the energy sector, manufacturing $500 million and $300 million in the mining sector.
Total investment approved amounted to $3.16 billion from 170 projects. The projects are forecast to create 13,377 jobs and about $30 million in export earnings. However, these are just investment projects approved and not implemented. Figures from UNCTAD on actual investment flows show that $2.42 billion has been invested into the country since dollarisation.
Economic Planning and Investment Promotion secretary Desire Sibanda said the ministry was in the process of revamping ZIA’s reporting structure in order to deal with the anomaly.
“The new structure will show sector by sector numbers in terms of investment type, employment provided and the number of investors. “It’ll also show the impact of those investments and differentiate between approvals and implementation.”
The structure will copy from the Rwanda model which collates the number of investors involved and the expertise required for their investment. “So many investors in various sectors sign memorandums of understanding with clear timelines but unfortunately some of these things are not captured while there has also been a missing mechanism to track the projects which will be implemented.”
He said as part of the revamp the ministry will hold quarterly investment meetings and produce an annual investment report. — Wires.