The following is a transcript of the address delivered by President Emmerson D Mnangagwa at his meeting with representatives of the Kazakhstan business community in Astana yesterday.
I wish to thank the business community of Kazakhstan for having organised this event at the sidelines of my first visit here to lay a firm foundation for economic and investment co-operation with your beautiful country.
Guided by our strategy to “open new frontiers” under my Government’s Engagement and Re-engagement Policy, we are committed to deepen and strengthen relations with the Government and people of Kazakhstan.
This visit is opportune and is sure to facilitate and increase Kazakhstan’s presence in Zimbabwe and the Southern African region.
On behalf of the Government and people of the Republic of Zimbabwe, and on my own behalf, I am grateful to His Excellency Nursultan Nazarbayev for having invited me and my delegation to visit your country.
I am confident that we will have fruitful deliberations which will explore possible investment areas between our two countries, anchored in our understanding and appreciation that the private sector is the engine for economic development.
Following our interactions today, we look forward to welcoming business and investment from Kazakhstan, and the establishment of a Kazakhstan-Zimbabwe Business Forum as soon as possible.
Zimbabwe is shedding off the isolation she has been under for close to two decade.
To this end, we have embarked on a bold course to revive, rebuild, modernise and industrialise every sphere of our economy.
We are determined to improve the quality and standard of living of our people under our vision to become a middle-income economy by 2030.
We extend the opportunity for you to partner us on this journey.
In achieving this we are cognisant that vibrant private sector participation and foreign direct investment are essential ingredients.
My Government continues to implement comprehensive economic reforms which foster a conducive business and investment climate with greater impetus.
The ongoing public sectors reforms are set to harness the immense abilities of our educated human capital base. These reforms will also see the improved efficiency and responsiveness in our bureaucracy to ensure the speedy implementation of investment projects.
Let me assure you that my Government is entrenching a disciplined, consistent and predictable business and policy environment which is free from all forms of corruption.
All investments are therefore safe and private property rights respected. Foreigners are free to repatriate their investment proceeds, in accordance with our laws.
Zimbabwe, as I have always said, is open for business.
The growth of trade and investment in mining, agriculture, infrastructure development, energy and power generation are expected to anchor our economic development agenda.
The Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Act has been amended and this has reignited the interest of foreigners to do business in our country.
The private sector from Kazakhstan is, therefore, invited to come on board and take advantage of the possibilities in our country. Zimbabwe is open for business and dialogue.
My Government has put in place a broad economic reform policy, the Transitional Stabilisation Programme.
Through this economic blueprint, we expect to incrementally stabilise the economic environment, reduce Government deficit, the external debt and liquidity challenges.
In the agriculture sector, the fertile soils and conducive climate create huge potential in a wide array of both domestic and export-bound agriculture products.
We invite investors to develop our irrigation capacity, as well as modernise and mechanise agriculture.
Investors are free to consider investing in crops such as tobacco, tea, coffee and citrus fruits. Enterprises across the wide array of horticulture, livestock, fisheries and wildlife products may also be pursued.
We have a broad range of wildlife in the Zimbabwe, and our national parks are among the best in the world.
There are also prospects along the agriculture value chain such as fertiliser and chemical manufacturing, agriculture engineering and the agro-processing sub-sectors.
Our manufacturing sectors requires retooling, the equipment is obsolete and cannot compete with others in the world today, so there is opportunity for investment in that area.
We are enthusiastic to leapfrog the modernisation of our manufacturing sector so that it catches up with the rest of the rising countries in the Third World. We further welcome investment to value add and beneficiate products such as tobacco, cotton, dairy and meat products in agriculture, and in mining in lithium, chrome and iron ore among other products.
In the infrastructure sector, we have an expansive national road and railway network.
Our roads and railway infrastructure are behind by about 20 years and we need our infrastructure to speak to the networks in the region by rehabilitation and construction of new networks.
We also want to develop and modernise our airports and the airline industry. These combined will result in Zimbabwe being an efficient transport and logistics corridor into the region,
Opportunities are also available in real estate and our tourism sector through the construction of hotels, as well as business and residential premises.
As I have highlighted above, my administration removed restrictions to foreign shareholding in the mining sector.
We welcome investors to exploit, value add and beneficiate any of the over 50 minerals found in Zimbabwe, including natural gas, coal-bed methane and associated petro-chemicals. There are others besides the ones I have mentioned: gold, diamonds, platinum, chrome, lithium, coal and many others.
In addition, there are opportunities for investments in specialist services such as engineering, transport and logistics, ICTs, chemicals and pharmaceutical industries. We have many opportunities in the ICTs sector.
Zimbabwe, along with her neighbours in the Southern African region, presently has an energy deficit. As such, we are inviting investment into this sector not only for consumption but also for possible export into our region.
Our energy can be generated from hydro, thermal and solar. In Zimbabwe we have sunshine virtually from January to December. This snow we’re seeing here – we don’t know it in Zimbabwe. It’s a marvel to us.
Energy generation in line with the new technologies associated with our lithium endowments offer exciting investment prospects.
The tourism sector provides opportunities in the hospitality industry such as the construction of hotels and conferencing facilities.
We are also eager to widen our tourist products through, for example, the building of golf courses, sports and leisure facilities or amusement parks, restaurants and entertainment areas.
My Government is reforming State-owned enterprises and parastatals, which provides investment prospects for potential investors.
I invite you all to take advantage of the opening up of our economy and invest in my country.
By leveraging on our land-linked geographical position, investors can utilise Zimbabwe as a hub and centre for industrial development through which to enter the African market. Africa has about 1,2 billion people; it is a huge market and Zimbabwe can be gateway to that market.
Once again, allow me to extend an invitation to you all to visit Zimbabwe and explore the business opportunities that are there.
Each ministry in my Government has detailed investment brochures and an open door policy to receive your enquiries, and we are developing a one-stop centre where all your questions relating to investment can be answered.
Visiting Zimbabwe will allow you to experience my country’s hospitality, climate and other tourist attractions.
Zimbabwe is open for business and dialogue. We look forward to your investments and the growth of our economic relations.
I thank you.