Prosper Ndlovu in Dubai, UAE
THE Zimbabwe Investment Development Authority (ZIDA) should take advantage of the growing business enquiries about Zimbabwe at the on-going Expo 2020 Dubai in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to secure big deals that will help transform the country’s economy, Speaker of Parliament, Advocate Jacob Mudenda, has said.
Zimbabwe is making significant inroads in marketing its vast investment and trade opportunities at the expo where over 206 000 guests have visited the country pavilion since commencement of the showcase last October to January 2022.
In an interview after touring the country’s pavilion here on Sunday evening, Adv Mudenda said Zimbabwe stands a chance to reap huge dividends from the expo and challenged ZIDA to play its cards well to convince potential investors.
According to Zimbabwe Expo 2020 Dubai Commissioner General, Ambassador Mary Mubi, the country has received more enquiries mainly on tourism, mining and agriculture opportunities, which are being recorded through the self-help desk.
These have been sent to the relevant line ministers for their consideration while it is anticipated that if such enquiries are responded to timeously they will culminate in signing of investment and trade deals.
“This is a very good beginning but we need to go beyond pictorial presentation to actual project design and analysis.
“ZIDA will have to improve its narrative in terms of potential for investments, and come up with a more detailed presentation in terms of info-graphics, for example, by disaggregating the various sectors of investment in a more clearly defined manner so that there is no doubt,” said Adv Mudenda.
“If an investor wants to invest in mining diamonds, ZIDA and this expo should be able to say here is the geospacial area where you can mine and here are the coordinates.”
As the authority mandated to drive investments into the economy, Adv Mudenda said the ZIDA Act provides a very clear legal framework for enhancing ease of doing investments in Zimbabwe.
He said this has been complemented by the Companies Act, which has also been reformed by Parliament and now answers the question of property rights, which is protected by the Constitution.
“We have also looked at corporate governance in various segments and believe there are opportunities for PPPs (public, private partnerships), and ensure that some parastatals can join hands with private sector and be able to improve our economy,” he said.
Regarding the pending Mining Amendment Bill, Adv Mudenda said the process “should be concluded within this first quarter”.
He explained that the sticking issues were mainly to do with issues in terms of land rights and property rights, which had pitted farmer interests versus those of miners.
“Those are the areas that we need to straighten up so that there is no conflict,” said Adv Mudenda.
He said the agriculture sector must as well harness more investments towards unlocking the horticulture potential through vibrant irrigation systems.
For agriculture, he said the country has over 100 water bodies and dams such as Tugwi Mukosi, which could be transformed into centers of economic significance.
“Tugwi Mukosi has accumulated a lot of water and has got 25 000ha of land that needs investment for irrigation, tourism and construction of many other facilities. That information is not here and yet we have great potential,” he said.
“Tourism, agriculture, mining and cattle ranching are areas we need to explore but synthesised in a project.
“Investors also need assurance regarding repatriation of their returns or profits and investors need to know that if they invest this builds investor confidence,” said Adv Mudenda.
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