The greatest strategy to attract Foreign Direct Investment, create jobs and generate wealth is the promotion of a solid local investment culture that will raise the confidence bar.
Investors are more confident putting their money into an economy where domestic investors show confidence in their own markets.
It is against this background that we applaud the Industrial Development Corporation for the achievements made so far at its Sunway City Integrated Park where industrial space, residential stands, a high-tech park and special medical facilities have been established by a local company.
Years of hard work and huge funds have been invested into the park, even against challenges that have beset the economy over the past decade or so. That such a facility could be constructed in a challenging environment reflects the potential that reposes in this economy, which FDI can help consolidate.
Initially IDC had roped in a Malaysian firm, but the challenges that befell Asian economies in the 1990s when the idea was mooted, led to the collapse of the joint venture. But this was a blessing in disguise it appears. The fact that IDC forged ahead undeterred is highly commendable and is something that local investors should emulate. The local company refused to be a cry-baby and went ahead with the project and the results are there for all to see. The schools of thought that insist that the future of this economy lies in local hands are vindicated by such examples.
Already, the Chinese, inspired by the work done so far, have promised to come and invest into the high-tech park established in the Sunway City Project.
Such strides are indicative of the capacity of home-grown solutions to turnaround the economy. More of these should be encouraged and the giant integrated park is certainly a towering example of what this economy is capable of producing.
Obviously more local and foreign investors will soon be persuaded to pour their millions, if not billions into this project and others of its nature. We, therefore, appeal to those with capacity to ensure more such facilities are constructed to offer investors ready factory space, residential properties and other basics under one roof so to speak.
Already the investor interest in this country is high given the several trade and investment missions this country has hosted in the past few months.
We feel the Sunway City Integrated Park will go a long way in energising the establishment of Special Economic Zones that have already been identified as an avenue through which the economy can regenerate.
These Special Economic Zones readily attract foreign investment, at a time Zimbabwe aspires to claim its fair share of FDI that has largely been elusive due to sanctions-induced challenges the economy has had to endure for more than a decade.
Industry and Commerce Minister Mike Bimha was visibly elated by what he saw at the Sunway City Integrated Park as it brought the Special Economic Zones concept to life.
“The Government is behind you. We have been having consultants coming to Zimbabwe and people talking about Special Economic Zones, but what you are doing here shows that you are at an advanced stage in the development in line with Government policy.
“One way of establishing an SEZ is through an industrial park, especially this one which is integrated,” said the minister during a tour by Ministers and other Government officials on Monday.
We urge IDC to keep at it while other developers should be encouraged to construct such facilities to take the economy forward. Zimbabwe exudes immense potential to be the region’s economic hub and it is projects such as these that give credence to this view.
Some Zimbabwean entrepreneurs with a penchant to spend millions of dollars on consumption should be motivated to redirect their funds towards productive projects such as the integrated park.
The sum total of such efforts will augur well for this economy.