Oliver Kazunga, Senior Business Reporter
THE private sector needs to complement Government efforts in luring investors from across the globe by branding and marketing the country as a safe investment destination, an official has said.
In an interview after his address at the business networking cocktail in Bulawayo on Tuesday evening, Malaysia ambassador to Zimbabwe Amarjit Sarjit Singh said at the moment the country was failing to attract foreign direct investment due to negative publicity by some foreign media.
“Zimbabwe is suffering because of unfair and negative publicity out there and therefore the business community should complement Government efforts to correct this,” he said.
Ambassador Singh said instead of learning about the situation in Zimbabwe from the media, it was important for those intending to invest in the country to visit the country.
The business networking cocktail was organised by the Malaysia-Zimbabwe Business Network. Amb Singh said negative publicity was the major stumbling block in Zimbabwe’s quest to attract foreign investment.
The new political order led by President Mnangagwa has since coming into power in November 2017 adopted the “Zimbabwe is open for business” mantra with a view to attract foreign direct investment.
Zimbabwe’s relations with the international community soured after the country embarked on the fast-track land reform programme in 2000.
The West which was against the Government’s decision to address the skewed land ownership which favoured minority Whites, imposed illegal sanctions on Zimbabwe as punishment for taking land from the White commercial farmers to redistribute it to the landless.
“The biggest problem for Zimbabwe now is that there is nothing good said about the country out there.
“People like us who have been here for about four years know the prevailing situation in the country which is conducive for business but the positive message is not going out there,” said Amb Singh.
He said it was therefore important for businesses to complement Government efforts to market the country as a safe investment destination.
“The President is going on many visits to sell Zimbabwe as a good investment destination and business should complement such efforts,” he said.
Earlier in his address, Amb Singh said prospective investors from Malaysia were keen to do business with Zimbabwe in different sectors of the economy among them, information communication technology, food processing, manufacturing and services industry.
Meanwhile, Zimbabwe is targeting to improve its ease of doing business ranking to below 100.
At present, the country is ranked 155 on the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business rankings, a significant improvement from 2015 when it was ranked 171 out of 190 economies.
According to the World Bank, economies are ranked on their ease of doing business, from 1-190. A high ease of doing business ranking means the regulatory environment is more conducive to the starting and operation of a local firm.