Government is intensifying efforts to engage diasporans in an attempt to attract more foreign direct investment by lining up diaspora engagement conferences in South Africa, Australia and United Kingdom to engage more than 3 million Zimbabweans resident in those countries.
In an interview, Macroeconomic Planning and Investment Promotion Minister Dr Obert Mpofu said his ministry will be engaging diasporans in the UK, South Africa and Australia starting from next month. Diasporans contribute an average of $1,5 billion annually in remittances.
Cabinet is expected to adopt the National Diaspora Policy to Cabinet which was presented to Cabinet late last year. The policy among other issues is meant to encourage diasporans to invest back home.
Minister Mpofu said it is a good thing for the diasporans to work together with the Government to attract FDI.
“It is a good thing that our brothers and sisters who are in the diapora are willing to work with us for the good of our country,
“We are in the process of visiting most capitals where Zimbabweans reside so that we can see how best they can invest back home.”
Minister Mpofu said Government is encouraging diasporans to invest back home.
Chairman of the newly formed Zimbabweans In the Diaspora Organisation Mr Blessed Kapesa said diasporans play a very critical role in attracting FDIs and Government’s initiative to engage was most welcome.
“There is big potential for financial benefit to Zimbabwe because the diaspora market is still untapped.
“We are talking in terms of millions considering people here are the gross contributors in the remittances realised per year.”
The organisation is expected to be officially launched in the United Kingdom in April.
Government has already partnered International Labour Organisation which has enormous experience in encouraging diasporans to invest back home to their countries.
Mr Kapesa said ZIDO is set to engage Zimbabweans in the United Kingdom and the whole of Europe.
“This is an open call to all Zimbabweans in Europe who possess common bonds and business interests regardless of race, tribe, gender, political affiliation, religion or job status; the event promises to be a diverse and beneficial networking opportunity for all.
“Full disclosure on the ZIDO key elements that include financial service, marketing and networking, educational services and event management will be under the spotlight.
“This is also an open call to reputable speakers and marketing executives to come and present their different policies and investment opportunities to the diaspora market. These would include areas like housing and property developments, insurance, mining, agriculture, education and the like,” he said.
The National Diaspora Policy was formulated under the country’s economic blue print Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio Economic Transformation (ZIMASSET) which encourages investments and remittances from the diaspora.
Last year Minister of Youth, Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Patrick Zhuwao emphasised that diasporans should be Zimbabwe’s biggest foreign direct investment contributors.
Minister Zhuwao went on to estimate that over $50 billion could be realised if investment from 3 million Zimbabweans in the diaspora was properly channelled.