Harare – There are many reasons why investing in Zimbabwe at this moment makes sense, especially for those who do not want to be left out because most of the lucrative opportunities will soon be taken.
To start with, the Government has declared that “Zimbabwe is Open for Business”, a catchy phrase that fully reflects the intentions.
Being open for business means the country is once again repositioning itself like a prospective bride to the world, availing opportunities for those interested in doing business.
In fact, there has been a lot of work done to reflect what is meant by “Zimbabwe is Open for Business”, as evidenced by the measures taken to improve the ease of doing business.
The country improved its Ease of Doing Business rankings by 15 places this year, a move emanating from reforms taking place in various sectors to ensure people find it easy to carry out their businesses.
The improvement was from 155 to 140, placing the country in the exclusive list of top 20 reformers globally, out of the 190 countries that are measured under the ease of doing business index.
The reform that have been carried out by the Government since the New Dispensation started in 2017 have ensured that the country competes well globally in terms of attracting investors. Business people can now come into the country and freely do their business under clear laws governing the investment sector, which falls under the newly formed Zimbabwe Investment and Development Agency (ZIDA).
That investors will soon start scrambling to come to Zimbabwe is not a matter of speculation, especially coming on the back of quite a huge number who have already set base in the country.
There are a lot of new foreign investors that have established their business in Zimbabwe, especially in the mining sector where the Government is in the process of having achieved a US$12 billion sector by 2023.
The Great Dyke Investment (GDI) platinum project in Mashonaland West is already taking shape and poised to become the second biggest platinum venture in Zimbabwe after Zimplats.
The joint venture between Zimbabwe and Russia is expected to carry out massive infrastructure development and create thousands of jobs.
Work at the mine is progressing well, with rapid progress having been made on the first box cut where excavations have revealed optimistic results from extensive drilling of about 130,000 metres.
What makes this venture the more significant is that Zimbabwe has the world’s second largest platinum reserves after South Africa, with Russia coming in a close third.
GDI is expected to starting exporting the mineral in 2022 to feed into the Government’s grand plan of the US$12 billion mining industry by 2023.
The US$4,2 billion Karo Resources platinum mine project in Mhondoro-Ngezi, also in Mashonaland West, is another massive mining project expected to change the course of the country’s development.
The company has completed some of the crucial stages towards full-fledged mining, including an aero-magnetic survey, digital terrain mapping and aero-magnetic and geophysics study of the area.
The mine is set to employ over 25,000 people and many others in downstream industries when fully operational. The project envisages the construction of a 600MW power plant and base metal refinery in conjunction with other platinum mining companies.
Lithium mining venture, Arcadia Lithium Project, is another huge game changer in the mining sector, which has already secured Special Economic Zone status.
Located 38km east of Harare, the project recently discovered possible large deposits of caesium, a much sought after chemical element or metal used mainly in high temperature or high pressure oil and gas drilling, at its Arcadia Mine.
In the last few weeks, Australia Stock Exchange-listed concern, Invictus Energy, obtained an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) from the Environmental Management Agency (EMA), which allowed the company to move on the ground at its Muzarabani oil and gas project.
The drilling of the exploratory hole for oil is set to start in earnest following a desktop exploration which proved there were compelling results to fund the next stage of starting the drilling.
Chinese firm, Anjin, has returned to Chiadzwa for mining diamonds, in a move expected to boost the sector by increasing production of the gems.
There are many other investors who have been coming in either to settle in other areas or explore the extent of the opportunities.
All these are being attracted by the way President Mnangagwa’s Government has been doing business, especially the consistency and confidence that has been restored in various sectors. Implementation of correct policies have of late ensured a stability in foreign exchange and prices.
Not so long ago, the volatile and unpredicted parallel foreign currency market used to determine the prices of goods, hence inflation was rising each month. But now, no one is talking about the parallel market exchange rate and the inflation because of the stability that has been restored in the financial services sector.
The recent unveiling of the Global Compensation Deed, a deal meant to pay white former commercial farmers a combined US$3,5 billion compensation for improvements on farms showed the new way of doing business in Zimbabwe.
The deal demonstrated that the Government respects the Constitution since the compensation is provided for in the supreme law, while respect of property rights is now guaranteed.
The deal also indicated the Second Republic’s commitment to re-engagement and abiding by its word.
Zimbabwe offers investment opportunities in many sectors, and it is no longer time for a wait-and-see attitude by those interested in doing business in the country.
The country is centrally located in the Southern African Development Community, an advantage that opens a market of nearly 350 million people making up the 16 member states.
This centrality in location has the potential of making Zimbabwe a regional hub in almost all sectors, especially those to do with logistics like railways, roads, power and telecommunications.
There is an advantage in the human resources sector in Zimbabwe, where the literacy rate is ranked at more than 90 percent. In the recent past, the Government has been aggressive in instituting Special Economic Zones where investors enjoy certain concessions and privileges that make their business much easier. This has given rise of potential business in sectors that can operate from the designated economic zones.
Key sectors for investment in the country include manufacturing, tourism, infrastructure development, mining and information communication technologies.
The setting up of ZIDA has been the game changer in the investment climate in Zimbabwe, as it makes it easier for an investor to come and establish business in any sector.
The investment body has a broad mandate to oversee all investment issues in the country, especially ensuring that capital finds a comfortable home. It is a one-stop shop investment entity.
In this case, the ZIDA Act is not ambiguous when it comes to creating that conducive environment which attracts foreign investors, guaranteeing them that their investments will be safe.
The establishment of ZIDA should be viewed in light of the broad reform agenda being undertaken by the New Dispensation meant to open up the economy to a huge leap forward.
It cuts on bureaucracy and corruption when it comes to the handling of investors by setting rules and regulations that are clear to everyone, which can easily be referred to when they appear to be breached.
In light of the above, it is clear that those investors who prefer sitting on the fence risk losing out when opportunities are taken by the early birds.
Here is a country which has opened itself up to investors and has instituted the necessary provisions that will allow those who bring their capital to flourish in their endeavours, while the country also reaps rewards.