Draw-down from $250m facility begins today
Zvamaida Murwira Senior Reporter
Zimbabwe will — with effect from today — start drawing down on a $250 million line of credit facility from a United Kingdom-based firm, Gemcorp Capital, an international independent investment fund management entity that focuses on emerging markets, to import essential commodities.
A delegation from Gemcorp Capital met President Mnangagwa at his Munhumutapa offices in Harare yesterday where they briefed him on the progress of the facility that was sealed last month.
The facility was signed by Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) governor Dr John Mangudya, Finance and Economic Development Minister Professor Mthuli Ncube and Gemcorp Capital.
This comes as Greece Foreign Affairs Vice Minister Mr Terens Quick told President Mnangagwa that he would lead a business delegation in March next year to explore investment opportunities.
Briefing journalists after meeting the President, Gemcorp Capital head of investment, Ms Parvoleta Shtereva said disbursement of part of the money begins today and would go mainly into the fuel sector.
“We are here to meet His Excellency and report about our $250 million facility supporting essential imports and the Zimbabwean economy. We also informed him about the progress on this facility and our interest to invest in the economy and to support vital economic sectors like mining, telecommunication, pharmaceuticals among others,” said Ms Shtereva.
“The facility is aimed at supporting imports of intermediary goods, to assist the economy and sustain the Zimbabwean industry, specifically fuel, wheat, vegetable oil and so.”
She said the firm’s focus was to support emerging markets.
“We are an emerging market fund manager. We have over $1billion in funds we are managing. We are just over four years old. We specialise in emerging markets and more specifically in Africa and Latin America, and Eastern Europe. In Africa, we are active in Angola; we also have an office in Ethiopia and we are about to open an office in Zimbabwe,” she said.
Zimbabwean ambassador to Britain, Retired Colonel Christian Katsande said the coming of Gemcorp Capital was consistent with the thrust of President Mnangagwa to open the country for investment.
“As you aware, His Excellency the President has directed that we bring focus to the economic functions of diplomacy. That means we need to promote investment, trade, tourism. I am delighted that Gemcorp has presented themselves indicating their commitment to support Zimbabwe and our economic recovery. This is an initial facility of $250 million. We expect them to support more, but the initial support is targeting our private sector in production and the fuel sector as well,” said Rtd Col Katsande.
“All these are areas that we believe are critical for this economy. We believe that these are the building blocks of His Excellency’s Vision 2030.”
The facility comes at a time the country is facing serious foreign currency shortages, largely resulting from poor exports and subdued foreign direct investment.
Greece Foreign Affairs Vice Minister, Mr Quick told journalists soon after meeting President Mnangagwa that there would be a business delegation coming to Harare to explore investment opportunities.
“It was great for me to be received by the President of Zimbabwe. We discussed bilateral and international issues. I told him that we are planning to organise a business delegation beginning of March next year to Harare which enhances the economic cooperation,” said Mr Quick.
“We have a lot of fields to work on, like agriculture, sport and maritime. We are a powerhouse in maritime. I think it is time to recognise that Zimbabwe has a lot of similarities with Greek culture and I was flattered from the several meetings I had when I heard that you do like and have respect for the Greeks. This is something that we have to reciprocate.”