‘Diaspora holds key to Zim’s FDI needs’
George Maponga Masvingo Bureau
Government has been urged to stop looking to Western countries for Foreign Direct Investment and concentrate on courting its nationals in the Diaspora who are reportedly sitting on an estimated $50 billion in savings which could be invested back home.
Youth, Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Minister Patrick Zhuwao said last week that it was not advisable for Zimbabwe to continue sending delegations to Western capitals to scrounge for the so-called FDI, yet there were millions of Zimbabweans scattered around the globe with savings that could be used to open businesses here.
Addressing officials from his ministry during a familiarisation meeting in Masvingo, Minister Zhuwawo said a surge in FDI did not automatically translate into benefits in the host country.
Minister Zhuwao said studies had actually shown that there was a corresponding relationship between high FDI inflows and high joblessness.
“There is a myth that when a country is a recipient of high FDI (flows) that translates into economic growth, but in fact studies have shown there is a link between high unemployment and high FDI inflows, he said.
“There is also a belief that FDI comes from the Anglo-Saxon world, it cannot come from India, China and other countries.
“In Zimbabwe, we can actually develop our economy by tapping into our sons and daughters who are in the Diaspora and have in excess of $50 billion that could be remitted back home for investment.’’
Minister Zhuwao said Zimbabweans were central to any thrust to economically develop their country.
He said it was wrong for Government officials to be dictated on what to do by foreign investors, saying Zimbabweans should set the rules on those who want to come and invest in the country.
“It is wrong to hear a senior Government official saying investors want this and that to be done first before they can put their money because we know that every investor wants to do business under conditions that are most favourable to his or her desire to make profit,’’ said Minister Zhuwao.
He said Government officials who represent the people of Zimbabwe should set conditions that benefit ordinary people not inves- tors.
Minister Zhuwao said the Zanu-PF election manifesto of 2013 that propelled President Mugabe and the party into office should be the cornerstone of the implementation of the indigenisation and economic empowerment pol- icy.
He challenged officers in his ministry to fully grasp the Zanu-PF manifesto as it was the product of a Government overwhelmingly elected in the last elections on the strength of its promises to the electorate.
“I have no regrets about this and I even know that some mischievous sections of the media will claim that I am trying to politicise the civil service, but the civil service should also implement policies of a political party (Zanu-PF) that was given an overwhelming mandate to govern by the people of Zimbabwe,’’ said Minister Zhuwawo.