20 February 2018

Zimbabwe: Foreign Investors Told to Avoid Zim Politics

Photo: 263Chat
Harare City (file photo).

Foreign companies intending to invest in Zimbabwe must avoid political engagements or commentary as State security agents "will employ heavy-handed methods on them", an international business company has said.

A number of foreign investors have visited Zimbabwe with the intention of seeking new opportunities following Emmerson Mnangagwa takeover as president last year.

The new president has since pledged to open the cash-starved country to foreign investments, declaring that Zimbabwe is open for business.

However, London-based Business Monitor International Research (BMI) says foreign investors need to be more careful, especially in an election year.

"(Foreign) businesses should avoid involvement in political affairs or commentary over the near term, as the state security apparatus can employ heavy-handed methods to quell dissent," BMI noted in a recent report.

The main security risk for investors in Zimbabwe came from the threat of political violence and toxic politics, which tend to flare up around election periods.

"Ongoing succession battles within the ruling Zanu PF party and the systematic repression of opposition parties are key factors that have contributed negatively to political stability in Zimbabwe in recent months," BMI said.

"In view of the relatively peaceful transfer of power within Zanu PF, we expect upcoming elections will be hotly contested.

"The pertinent risk of political violence can significantly disrupt business operations and trade in the country in the near term, while investors will remain cautious on the market."

Theft and assault, BMI added, remained the most prevalent crimes with foreign businesses and expatriates in major cities and tourist locations such as Harare and Victoria Falls particularly exposed.

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