Conrad Mwanawashe Business Reporter—
GOVERNMENT, through the Ministry of Macro-Economic Planning and Investment Promotion, is targeting a foreign direct investment level of 25 percent of the country’s gross domestic product starting next year.The ministry will also launch an “invest in Zimbabwe” handbook next month to facilitate dissemination of information to investors including locals in the Diaspora.
In order to achieve the targeted investment level, a number of initiatives have been planned and these include investment road shows to Zimbabwe’s major investment source markets as well as the BRICS countries.
The promulgation of the Special Economic Zones Act in October this year marked a new era on the investment arena that is expected to see the country receiving improved investment inflows beginning 2017, according to the Minister of Macro-Economic Planning and Investment Promotion Dr Obert Mpofu.
“In this regard, the ministry has lined up investment road-shows to Zimbabwe’s major investment source markets as well as the BRICS countries. Most of the BRICS countries rose to their current outstanding investment levels because of the implementation of SEZs in their countries.
“Zimbabwe’s SEZs shall be broadly modelled along product specific, geographical area and industry specific SEZs. The Ministry of Finance and Economic Development has already gazetted some of the fiscal incentives that will apply in SEZs. This shows Government commitment to the implementation of SEZs,” said Dr Mpofu.
“The SEZs concept will be rolled out to all provinces in Zimbabwe during the first quarter of 2017. This is meant to prepare municipalities or local authorities therein to begin the process of modelling SEZs that could be hosted by their provinces.
“The target is to have at least one SEZ in each province in order to enable decentralised development of the country.
“The SEZs concept shall also be tailor made for Zimbabweans living in the Diaspora. Zimbabwe is taking a cue from countries such as India and Ethiopia whose Diasporans contributed immensely to the development process of their countries.
“In this regard, the ministry will work in conjunction with line ministries to introduce Diaspora SEZs to facilitate the country to tape from the latent financial base which lies within the Diaspora,” he said.
To that effect, a Diaspora Directorate was set within the ministry and a Diaspora Desk will be set up by ZIA in order to ensure that SEZs models for the Diasporans are established in 2017.
One of the main objectives of the new Diaspora Policy is to attract Diaspora investments and to make it easy for Diasporan communities to invest. Already visits have been undertaken to Canada, South Africa and United Kingdom to attract Diaspora investments.
Also, the Zimbabwe Investment Agency will be re-branded and transformed into a fully-fledged One-Stop-Shop Investment Centre to meet world class standards for an effective and efficient Investment Agency in the first quarter of 2017.
The re-branded ZIA will come with a standalone department fully designed to assist investors in investment implementation and addressing challenges met by investors.