Tendai Mugabe, Harare Bureau
Zimbabwe is open to Chinese investment in all sectors as Harare and Beijing strengthen economic ties under the new relationship status of Comprehensive Strategic Cooperation and Partnership agreed by the two Governments during President Mnangagwa’s visit to China in April.
Further, the Government of Zimbabwe committed to processing all proposed business projects in the shortest possible time.
In line with this drive, Government had already put in place appropriate policy and legislative framework that guarantees safety of foreign investments and lowers cost and risk of doing business in the country.
This was said by President Mnangagwa while officiating at the Zimbabwe-China Business Forum in Harare yesterday where he also oversaw the signing of various memoranda between Zimbabwe and China.
The agreements signed include a Memoranda of Understanding for the establishment of friendly ties between Harare Province and Zhejiang Province and another one on scholarships.
President Mnangagwa said Zimbabwe presented a whole array of opportunities in various sectors that the Chinese companies could invest in.
“Zimbabwe has huge potential and vast opportunities in all sectors,” said President Mnangagwa.
“We welcome investments in the entire mining value chain from exploration and mining, to value addition, beneficiation and marketing. In the agricultural sector, our thrust is to mechanise and modernise the entire agro-value chain. Investment opportunities are equally abound in the construction of water bodies, irrigation development and agriculture engineering, the manufacturing of fertiliser, chemicals and herbicides, value addition and beneficiation of agricultural products, agricultural financing, agro-ICT solutions and other aspects of the tech-revolution that will vault our agriculture productivity in line with global trends.
“Let me assure you that my Government will facilitate the implementation of all planned ventures and investments in the shortest possible time. We look forward to massive investment projects by Chinese companies that will see Zimbabwe on the road to fulfilling its vision of becoming a middle income country with a per capita income of US$3 300, increased investment, decent jobs, broad- based empowerment, free from poverty and corruption by 2030.”
President Mnangagwa said other investment opportunities were available in the energy sector and water and sanitation infrastructure.
“Investment opportunities are also abound in our manufacturing sectors which are in dire need of retooling and modernisation.
“This sector has vast investment prospects in clothing and textile, food processing, metals, electrical, leather and footwear, pharmaceuticals, paper and plastics among others.
“Over the years, our economy has suffered from limited affordable long-term financing and credit lines. We therefore, invite players in the financial services sector to come and establish financial institutions that offer appropriate financial solutions and packages for the unique realities of Zimbabwe and the region.”
President Mnangagwa said Government had set special economic zones based on geographical and commodity based strategy to promote Foreign Direct Investment.
He said he was impressed by the huge size of the Chinese delegation from Zhejiang province which described as the first of its kind from China since independence.
The Chinese delegation was led by the Governor of Zhejiang province and secretary of the provincial committee of the Communist Party of the People’s Republic of China Mr Che Jun.
Among Mr Che’s delegation, were business people from various sectors willing to partner their Zimbabwean counterparts to do business here.
The visit was the first by Mr Che to Africa signalling China’s seriousness to do business with Zimbabwe.
Earlier, Mr Che and his delegation paid a courtesy call on Vice President Constantino Chiwenga at his Munhumutapa Office before proceeding to attend the Zimbabwe-China Forum.
They held discussions on business prospects under the new administration.
China is positioning itself for massive investments in the country since the coming in of the new administration under President Mnangagwa.
The President has adopted “Zimbabwe is Open for Business” policy, which has attracted foreign investment worth billions of dollars.
Mr Che told journalists after the meeting that he had comprehensive and broad discussion with VP Chiwenga centred on economic co-operation, trade and investments between Zhejiang and Harare.
“My visit here is to implement the agreement signed between the two countries when President Mnangagwa visited China,” said Mr Che, who is chairman of the standing committee of Zhejiang Provincial People’s Congress.
VP Chiwenga concurred with Mr Che saying the delegation was in the country to fulfil the promise they made to President Mnangagwa during his State visit to that country in April.
“So quite a number of areas were discussed in China between his Excellency the President and his counterpart President Xi Ping. So the party secretary brought with him a big team of business people in Zimbabwe to explore investment opportunities in areas of across the broad economic sector.”
Zhejiang is among China’s most prosperous provinces. It is a top grower of tea and is active in agriculture. Zhejiang’s agriculture is among China’s most diversified. Most of Zhejiang’s wealth derives from light industry.
This in part reflects the province’s historical role as a commercial and handicraft centre and a significant textile producer since the 1890s.