Canning said a number of well-known names have been here to take a look at Zimbabwes business climate.
They like what they see in terms of economic recovery and are encouraged that for the first time in many years sound well-thought-out policies are being pursued to make that happen,
Canning told the latest edition of Britain and Zimbabwe, a quarterly in-house magazine published by the British embassy.
Zimbabwes coalition government has pursued a macroeconomic
stabilisation programme since its establishment 11 months ago.
The main tenets of the stabilisation programme include demonetisation
of the worthless Zimbabwe dollar and introduction of a multiple
currency system as well as the removal of disruptive price controls.
The measures have seen industrial capacity, which had declined to less
than 10 percent due to years of bad policies, rising to about 50
percent by the end of last year.
Investment Promotion Minister Elton Mangoma and Finance Minister
Tendai Biti have also led an international onslaught since coming into
office last February to attract foreign investors.
But Canning said a lot more needs to be done before Zimbabwe could
witness an influx of British and other investors.
Equally they view with concern developments on other fronts illegal
land seizures, moves against the wildlife conservancies and violence
and intimidation. All of those are investment killers, the British
Marauding gangs of President Robert Mugabes supporters, led by
soldiers and self-styled liberation war veterans, continue to lay
siege on the few remaining white-owned farms, often hounding the
owners of their properties.
The white farmers, some of whom have valid court orders barring the
forcible seizure of their properties, have been physically assaulted
or threatened with death for refusing to vacate the farms.
Last months temporary forced closure of the Harare plant of Swiss
food giant Nestle is unlikely to aid Zimbabwes cause for attracting
foreign investment, either.
Nestle Zimbabwe was forced to shut down it Harare factory in December
after Zanu (PF) gangs, led by Agriculture Minister Joseph Made and
Empowerment Minister Saviour Kasukuwere threatened the management for
refusing to take milk from a farm owned by Mugabes wife.
The Swiss giant cancelled a contract to purchase milk from Grace
Mugabes Gushungo Dairy Estate in October following an international
outcry over the companys links with the Mugabes who are subject to
Although Switzerland is not a signatory to European Union targeted
sanctions against Mugabe and over 200 Zanu (PF) officials,
international human rights groups pressured Nestle to cut its business
ties with Grace Mugabe, accusing the Swiss firm of complicit in
Zimbabwes human rights abuses.
Nestle Zimbabwe only resumed operations last week after receiving
assurances from the government that its staff would be protected.
Canning insisted that the United Kingdom would maintain the travel ban
and asset freeze on Mugabe and his lieutenants until there was full
implementation of the Global Political Agreement (GPA) signed by the
Zimbabwean strongman with Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and Deputy
Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara in 2008.
On the lifting of sanctions, Id simply say look after implementing
the GPA and sanctions will look after themselves, said Canning.
Mugabe, Tsvangirai and Mutambara have differed on the implementation
of political reforms agreed on in the GPA, with Mugabe insisting on
holding key ministries and refusing to fire the central bank chief
accused by Tsvangirais MDC-T and analysts of presiding over the
destruction of Zimbabwes once robust economy.
Negotiators from Zanu (PF) and the two MDC formations are currently
discussing the outstanding GPA issues.Post published in: Economy