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Shunned by Western Investors, Zimbabwe Seeks Credit Lines in Southern Africa

  • Gibbs Dube

Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce President Trust Chikohora said that the country’s enterprises desperately need lines of credit to increase production and create jobs

Lacking foreign direct investment and donor funding to reactivate Zimbabwe's battered economy, Finance Minister Tendai Biti and business leaders are looking to South Africa and Botswana for credit and capital.

Biti will soon lead a high-powered government and business delegation to Johannesburg and Gaborone in search of investment and credit lines to revive manufacturing where less than 40 percent of capacity is being used.

The two countries pledged to provide a total of US$120 million following the formation of the inclusive government in early 2009, but divisions within the Harare power-sharing government have impeded implementation.

Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce President Trust Chikohora told VOA Studio 7 reporter Gibbs Dube that the country’s enterprises desperately need lines of credit to increase production and create jobs. “Foreign direct investment will bring in capital which is needed for rejuvenating the economy currency facing serious liquidity problems,” he said.

But Deputy Secretary General Japhet Moyo of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions voiced skepticism as to Biti's strategy, saying the Southern African region is unlikely to provide the kind of funding Zimbabwe needs.

Zimbabwe attracted just US$852 million in foreign direct investment in 2009 and a mere US$105 million so far in 2010.

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