Lovemore Zigara, Midlands Correspondent
SOUTH Africa has invested about R20 billion into the Zimbabwean economy in the last 12 years as the two countries intensify economic ties, a South African minister said yesterday.
Mzwandile Masina, South Africa’s Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry told a business gathering in Gweru that the investment by his country has mainly been in the mining, agriculture, banking and retail sectors.
Masina is leading a delegation of 37 representatives from different companies, which is in the country for trade and investment talks.
The team will be in Bulawayo today and tomorrow after engagements with its Zimbabwean counterparts in Harare on Monday and Tuesday.
The team is drawn from agro-processing, mining, healthcare and ICT among others.
Going forward Masina said Zimbabwe should expect investment inflows of more than $500 million from South African companies, which include sugar manufacturer, Tongaat Hullets, Panasonic and New Coal among others.
“According to the FDI markets between 2003 and 2015 South Africa invested about R20 billion in the mining, agriculture, banking and retail sector. I’m of the view that South Africa companies that are accompanying me here also have a crucial role to play in growing not only our trade volumes but also investment into Zimbabwe that will yield a multiplying effect in job creation,” said Masina.
“Today I’m pleased to announce future investment estimated at about $8, 85 million by Tongaat Hullets around issues of agro-processing and also the Panasonic Business Systems, which has also committed to investing about $1,2 million in the advance manufacturing as well as the $501 million to be invested by New Coal in the coal and gas sector here in Zimbabwe among other investments.”
Masina said the two countries enjoy cordial relations as demonstrated by a number of bilateral trade agreements among them the SADC Trade Protocol, the South Africa – Zimbabwe Trade Agreement, the Joint Commission for Co-operation and the Joint Technical Committee among others.
He said South Africa was committed to continue assisting Zimbabwe in infrastructural projects and said the Development Bank of South Africa and other institutions have already committed $280 million incorporating both public and private sector.
The South African government through DBSA has previously funded Zimbabwe’s infrastructural development projects, which include the rehabilitation of the Plumtree- Mutare Highway undertaken by South African construction giant, Group 5.