Zim holds another investment conference

bitiFinance Minister Tendai Biti (pictured) on Wednesday hosted another conference trying to encourage investment in Zimbabwe, despite the recent moves by ZANU PF to take over foreign owned companies.

The Buy Zimbabwe Conference and Exhibition got underway in Harare on Wednesday, and was hosted by the Finance Ministry. The conference was set to focus on the promotion of the production and consumption of local goods and services.

The conference is a first of its kind focusing on growing Zimbabwes local base while taking into consideration the various trade agreements that Zimbabwe is signatory to, organisers said in a statement.

The conference is a platform for different economic sectors driving Zimbabwe to shift towards practical implementation of solutions that will help create value to local companies struggling to meet consumer demand due to a challenging economic environment.

The conference comes as foreign mining companies have been given a six month deadline to hand over a majority stake in shares to local investors, as part of ZANU PFs controversial indiginisation law. Affected firms, with the exemption of Chinese owned companies, have until May 9th to submit their indiginisation plans to the government and until September 25th to finalise the handover.

This planned offensive against mining companies is feared to be the start of a wider ZANU PF takeover, reminiscent of the destructive land grab scheme of the past decade. Robert Mugabe over the weekend stated that, We are taking back our country and analysts have warned that this sentiment is driving potential investment away from the country.

Commentators have argued that this is bad timing for yet another investment conference, as there is no confidence that any foreign businesses will be given a chance to succeed in Zimbabwe. Earlier this year, the government hosted a Euromoney investment conference, trying to persuade investors that Zimbabwe is a safe investment zone. That conference was widely viewed as a damp squib, because all efforts to encourage investment are being undermined by ZANU PFs indiginisation plans.

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