Munyaradzi Musiiwa Midlands Correspondent
PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe’s State visit to South Africa last year has been instrumental in attracting investment interest to Zimbabwe by companies from the neighbouring country, an official said.
Speaking at a business forum at Village Lodge in Gweru yesterday, South Africa’s Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry Mzwandile Masina said ministries responsible for trade and commerce between the two countries sought to advance the “vision of our leaders”, Presidents Jacob Zuma and Mugabe, to strengthen cooperation.
“South Africa’s investments here range from mining, agro-processing, ICT and we’re now into manufacturing and we’re in discussion now to revive the railways in order to enable fast movement of goods in the sector,” Masina said.
“We’ve invested in a number of companies that also include PPC cement processing company. Some of these initiatives are beginning to stabilise some of the economic challenges that Zimbabwe has been facing.”
Zimbabwe’s Ambassador to South Africa Ambassador Isaac Moyo concurred that President Mugabe’s recent visit to South Africa had cultivated business opportunities between the two countries.
“The idea [to bring SA business delegation] emerged during President Mugabe’s State visit to South Africa and at that time the embassy had organised a business forum, which was addressed by Presidents Mugabe and Zuma,” said Moyo.
“President Mugabe highlighted the opportunities that were available in Zimbabwe and we decided to engage the business community in South Africa to come and explore some of the business opportunities.
“The embassy followed up with the Department of Trade and Industry in South Africa to implement this part of the agreement. We also engaged the Johannesburg Chamber of Commerce and Industry.”
Speaking at the same occasion, Zimbabwe’s Deputy Minister of Industry and Commerce Chiratidzo Mabuwa said Zimbabwe has remained committed to creating a conducive environment for investors by amending the National Income and Pricing Commission Act into the National Competitive Commission Act as it moves to curb anti-competitiveness in doing business in the country.
“As a country, we’ve approached the Africa Trade Insurance in order to be insured against the risks. We now have a permanent inter-ministerial and private sector committee that is directed from the Office of the President and Cabinet who are working on the ease of doing business,” she said.
“We’ve already moved in the world rankings up 16 positions in the positive and we’re aiming to be in the top 100. We’re cleaning up all those issues that are making us one of the most expensive destinations for doing business.”
Mabuwa said in a few weeks time her ministry would table, in Parliament, the amendments to the National Income and Pricing Commission Act which will now become the National Competitive Commission Act.
The move would pave way for the establishment of a national competitiveness commission, which would look into investment issues and contributions that make the country uncompetitive.