Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa says there is need for Zimbabwe to have a conducive environment for attracting direct foreign investment in order to revive the country’s ailing economy.
His remarks come at a time when the International Monetary Fund recently projected that the country will grow by less than 3 percent this year.
Addressing a business conference in Bulawayo today on the sidelines of the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair, which kicked off yesterday, Mnangagwa said straightforward national policies are also key ingredients for turning around the economy.
The vice president further said Zimbabwe needs an aggressive private sector that can drive the manufacturing industry, which has over the years almost been decimated by lack of capital and fears over the country’s indigenization law that compels foreign-owned companies to transfer majority stakes to indigenous people.
Speaking at the same occasion, Deputy Industry Minister Chiratidzo Mabuwa, said companies operating in Zimbabwe should sell processed commodities to various nations instead of raw materials.
Mabuwa said this would ensure that the country fully benefits from its natural resources while at the same time creating thousands of jobs for local people.
She noted that Zimbabwe should rehabilitate roads and the national power grid if it wants to attract reasonable international investors.
Currently the nation is facing serious power outages due to low electricity generation levels at its main power stations.
Reacting to Mnangagwa and Mabuwa’s remarks, Zimtrade chairperson Sithembile Pilime, said it is not easy for local businesses to add value on the country’s natural resources due to various challenges, including lack of capital.
Pilime said some companies do not have the capacity to produce finished products for sale in the Southern African Development Community region and beyond.
She added that the country should have clear-cut policies that encourage foreign direct investment and local growth.
The business conference was attended by some business executives drawn from the public and private sectors and several government officials.
This year’s Zimbabwe International Trade Fair, running under the theme ‘Stimulating Exports: Seizing Opportunities to Accelerate Growth under ZimAsset’, will be officially opened Thursday by Zambian president Edgar Lungu.
Several countries and local exhibitors are attending the annual event.
The International Monetary Fund or IMF last month revised slightly downwards Zimbabwe’s economic growth for 2015 to 2.8 percent from the initial 3.2 percent. In a statement released Tuesday, the IMF said Zimbabwe’s growth has stalled.