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The Herald – Zimbabwe
Since President Mnangagwa assumed office in November 2017, there is one area that he clearly defined as critical and a must, if the country is to reposition its economy on a growth trajectory and claim its position among communities of nations.
Re-engagement and engagement with the international community has been at the centre of the Second Republic as evidenced by the deliberate approach to tell the Zimbabwe story at any given opportunity.
Prior to November 2017, before the new administration led by President Mnangagwa came into power, Zimbabwe had gone through two decades of isolation, ruinous economic sanctions and an unfriendly investment environment. These factors all conspired to cause an economic downturn despite the country being endowed with vast mineral resources such as gold, platinum, coal, diamonds and scenic natural wonders.
The old dispensation’s reaction to the acrimony it was being shown by hostile nations was to say, “We will go it alone.” Its approach became confrontational, plunging the country further into isolation by creating more enemies.
Kudos to President Mnangagwa who is seeking to change this negative perception that was built over a long period.
“In this global world, no nation is, can or need be an island, one unto itself. Isolation has never been splendid or viable; solidarity and partnership are and will always be the way,” he said in his inaugural speech on the 24th of November, 2017.
And this visionary and exemplary leadership has continued to guide the country.
“ . . . our country is ready for a sturdy re-engagement programme with all the nations of the world. We will take definite steps to re-engage those nations who have had issues with us in the past.”
As a result, he adopted policies that sought to consolidate Zimbabwe’s existing friendships, reconnect with estranged friends and seek out new partnerships.
The ultimate goal was, however, to attract foreign direct investment into the country and indeed it is working. Join us in exploiting our potential to make a difference in the lives of our people, that is his vision.
For a country that is endowed with natural resources, many of which are not yet exploited, Zimbabwe has vast opportunities and all it has to do is strike the right chords and tell its story, which, we believe the world already know and is ready to accept.
While in the past, it would put laws, that scared away both local and foreign investors, President Mnangagwa’s Government has adopted an open for business strategy and has taken every opportunity at various fora, to remind investors what the country has to offer.
No matter how hostile the situation can be, President Mnangagwa has not shied away from engaging, and indeed many countries are beginning to fall in love with his policies. The fruits are there for all to see and it is our hope that more countries will mellow their hard-line stance against Zimbabwe.
As reported this week, Zimbabwe recorded Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) inflows of US$745 million in 2018, up from US$349 million the previous year. The improvement in the FDI flows into the country over the period under review can be attributed to the ‘Zimbabwe is open for business’ mantra; an aggressive re-engagement drive that has been prioritised by the new dispensation.
In line with the mantra, the Government has implemented a number of initiatives to boost FDI, including amendment of the Indigenisation Act to reduce ownership restrictions; opening up other sectors to unrestricted foreign ownership and increasing the opportunities for foreign direct investments.
It is, however, important to note that, Vision 2030 is a journey that is still to be fully travelled. The country made strides in 2018, but 2019 is another year and more still needs to be done.
The only way Zimbabwe can achieve its potential is if it takes a deliberate approach to continue opening its doors to the investor community, but also making sure that the country is open for business, “but not open for abuse.”
As this happen, concerted efforts should be made to smoke out corrupt elements that create bottlenecks and scare away investors.
Zimbabwe has good climate, crime-free, endowed with natural resources and nothing should be allowed to stand in the way of luring investment.