Conrad Mwanawashe Business Reporter
ZIMBABWE is charming Chinese investors into investing in value addition of the country’s vast raw materials through partnerships. Industry and Commerce Minister Mike Bimha said Zimbabwe experiences a negative and high trade deficit with China due to the continued export of raw and semi-processed goods while the country imports finished products from the Asian country.
Minister Bimha was addressing the Zimbabwe-China Economic Cooperation Forum earlier this week. The forum was jointly organised by the Office of the President and Cabinet and the National Development and Reform Commission of China. Zimbabwe is offering incentives in the prioritised industrial sectors which include tax holidays, tax reductions and duty exemptions.
Minister Bimha said priority sectors for investment under the economic blueprint, the Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation — ZimAsset — under the manufacturing sector include agro sector, clothing and textiles, chemicals and timber and furniture among others.
“In this regard, I call upon the Chinese business community present to participate in the value addition of Zimbabwe’s vast materials through partnerships in order to promote technology and skills transfer,” said Minister Bimha.
Value addition and beneficiation is a critical pillar in the country’s economic blueprint, ZimAsset. “I would like to highlight that there are interesting developments in the cotton and leather sectors where the country has developed the cotton-to-clothing value chain strategy as well as the leather value chain strategy,” he said.
The Zimbabwe-China Economic Cooperation Forum was a prelude to the visit of the Chinese President Xi Jinping to Zimbabwe who left the country yesterday after a two day state visit.
“There is a recognition that a viable and efficient infrastructure is critical for industrial development and facilitation of competitive trade. In this regard, the Government is prioritising investments in Zimbabwe’s infrastructure rehabilitation and development,” Minister Bimha said.
“We are therefore, encouraging investments in energy production, information and telecommunication infrastructure, expansion and dualisation of road networks, water treatment plants as well as upgrading of rail and air transport systems,” he said.
Investment in these economic enablers will catalyse the country’s economic growth and development, according to Minister Bimha.