The 2013 Zimbabwe Investment Conference kicked off in Johannesburg today with both South African and Zimbabwean government authorities calling for investment in the country’s various sectors.
Head of the Zimbabwe delegation, Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara, urged South African investors and business representatives to sign deals before the end of the conference, which ends tomorrow.
Government ministers, senior civil servants, ambassadors, business executives and ordinary citizens from both South Africa and Zimbabwe converged at the Birchwood Hotel east of Johannesburg to discuss investment opportunities in Zimbabwe.
The conference is themed ‘Invest in Zimbabwe: Building Partnership in a Diversified Economy’ and targets institutional investors, fund managers, private equity managers, debt equity financiers, investment banks and multi-national corporations.
Mr. Mutambara, told delegates that Zimbabwe is ready for investment in infrastructure, manufacturing, mining, information and communication technology, tourism, agro-business, financial services and other sectors.
Tapiwa Mashakada, Minister of Economic Planning and Investment, said the conference is targeting South African investors, as the country is Zimbabwe’s largest trading partner.
Mr. Mashakada assured prospective investors that the country is reforming its economic laws, especially those that concern investors.
South Africa praised the Zimbabwean government for intensifying its investment drive, despite challenges faced by the country. South African Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry Elizabeth Thabethe said her government will support businesses ready to start operations in Zimbabwe.
She also said South African investors can take advantage of bilateral agreements signed by the two countries.
Not all officials were so encouraging. Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office, Jameson Timba, said Zimbabwe must hold a free and credible election before investment conferences are likely to bear any fruit.
Other delegates noted they were concerned that the Zimbabwe delegation included no Zanu-PF ministers.
Tomorrow delegates will focus on Zimbabwe’s business environment, capital markets, building partnerships and the role of the two governments in supporting investment.