Prosper Ndlovu, Business Editor
SOUTH African-headquartered conglomerate, Bigtime Strategic Group, plans to splash about 90 percent of its funds in diverse investments in Zimbabwe, enticed by the positive business climate under the new dispensation.
Responding to questions from Business Chronicle, the giant firm, which is run by Gwanda-born businessman, Mr Justice Maphosa, says it is convinced the “new” Zimbabwe under President Mnangagwa is ripe for increased domestic and foreign investment.
“The current political environment, the political will and zero tolerance to corruption demonstrated by the President creates a favourable environment for us as a business,” said the group.
It applauded the on-going investment reforms, particularly measures to repeal the previously inhibitive indigenisation regulations as well as the ease of doing business processes.
“All we can reveal at this stage is that our board took a resolution to invest 90 percent of Bigtime South Africa’s funds into the Zimbabwe economy. It’s already happening and we are not apologetic about investing in Zimbabwe,” it said without disclosing any figures.
Bigtime Strategic Group believes Zimbabwe has to catch up with the rest of the world in terms of infrastructure development and technology, a process it said cannot be championed by foreigners without involvement of locals, particularly the Diaspora.
“Our belief is that this must not be left to outsiders to come and invest and reap the rewards of an early entry into our own economy. In line with that, Bigtime South Africa has set up a group of companies in Zimbabwe across different sectors.
“This has been ongoing for three years now and plans are at an advanced stage to officially launch these companies. In fact, we are in the final stages of perfecting our technologies and setting up the required infrastructure needed to make this work. We will disclose further details at our launch,” said the group.
Bigtime Strategic Group has major interests in the banking and financial services sector. Given its exposure in South Africa, its investments could impact on the economy by bringing in new financial technology to enable the ease of transacting by the public. The targeted sectors for new investments include aviation, agricultural, insurance services, energy, transport and logistics, real estate, events management, and health.
“Our firm belief is that Zimbabwe is in dire need of financial solutions that are geared towards an all-inclusive economy where everyone is able to participate. Quite interestingly, in the financial services space, the challenges Zimbabwe faces are not unique to it,” said the group. It said many African countries have the same challenges as Zimbabwe hence it looked forward to replicating its interventions in Zimbabwe right across Africa.
“We as a business need to assist our governments in Africa to reduce poverty and promote inclusive growth. As Bigtime, we intend to generate national and individual wealth, while also making sure a lot more people benefit,” it said.
Chief executive officer, Mr Maphosa commented: “If there is no hope from us as Zimbabwean businesses in the Diaspora and no future foresight into how this could work for us as Zimbabweans, then who must shape this country for us.
“Or are we going to sit as slaves in our own country, fold our arms and wait to be economically colonized by those who may see what is clearly an opportunity. If we are not careful, this is going to happen to us as Zimbabweans.”