30 May 2012

Zimbabwe: Prime Minister Courts Chinese Investors

Photo: Morgan Tsvangirai
Zimbabwe Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai

PRIME Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has encouraged the Chinese to invest in Zimbabwe, saying opportunities exist in mining, agriculture, manufacturing and infrastructure development.

This comes at a time when MDC-T is at the forefront of condemning existing Chinese investments in Zimbabwe, claiming they are not beneficial.

In his address at the Sino-Africa Trade in Services and Investment Forum in Beijing yesterday, PM Tsvangirai made a passionate plea to the Chinese to invest in Zimbabwe.

"For those of you who have yet to invest in our country, you are welcome especially as we seek to deepen our economic relations on a win-win basis that serves the interest of our people," he said.

"We are the new place to do business, not as junior partners, but in mutually beneficial partnerships that benefit the people of our countries."

Added PM Tsvangirai: "While we have been dogged by toxic politics, the star status of Zimbabwe as a natural destination for investment is a matter of public record -- a country with abundant skills and a hospitable people that yearn for the best for itself and future generations."

Mr Tsvangirai then attacked Government's Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment drive that seeks to economically empower indigenous Zimbabweans.

He said the regulations discouraged foreign investment in the country.

"We have many opportunities in mining, agriculture, tourism and manufacturing and our quest to attract investment has been affected by the way in which sections of our inclusive Government have gone about implementing measures to promote the participation of our previously disadvantaged citizens in the mainstream economy," PM Tsvangirai said.

He pledged to disable implementation of the regulations.

"But you must appreciate that implementing such measures in an uneasy coalition government would be difficult and we will continue to mitigate the excesses of the law pending the next election when I am confident the elected government will bring finality to this issue," he said.

PM Tsvangirai blamed lack of investment and prosperity in the country to an "uneasy coalition" but assured the Chinese that "any company that operates within the confines of the law has my protection and that of our Constitution".

He said the country's economic turnaround efforts were being hindered by poor infrastructure.

"It is in the economic interest of China and our other developed friends to work with us to resolve these infrastructural challenges to open up the African resource and to build markets," he said.

"China could play a part -- both in present and future relations -- as we strive to build a strong economy, use market principles with safety nets and targeted policies to promote economic and social justice and to provide jobs and uplift our people.

"I am encouraged that Chinese State-owned enterprises and others have shown interest in our country."

PM Tsvangirai is in China on a week-long visit.

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