Foreign investors keen on Zim but…

businessHARARE Several United Kingdom firms are keen to invest in Zimbabwe but are waiting for the right signals from Harare with regards to the safety of their investments and the overall political climate in the southern African country, British ambassador to Zimbabwe Mark Canning said.

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

envoy said.

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

Western sanctions.

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

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *