Zimbabwe expects approved investment proposals to reach a record $2,5 billion this year, on the back of growing positive investor sentiment and interest following political changes that took place in November last year.
President Mnangagwa, who took over in November last year following the resignation of former President Mugabe has already pledged to guarantee the rights of foreign investors and to re-engage with the international community to attract investment.
A total of 162 investment projects valued at $1,52 billion were approved in 2017 compared to 164 projects valued $2,3 billion approved in 2016, according to the latest update from the Zimbabwe Investment Authority.
ZIA head of operations Sichoni Takoleza told a Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries Economic Outlook Symposium yesterday that renewed confidence was expected to drive for investment into Zimbabwe. This comes in the wake of improving confidence in the country following ascension to power of reformist and incumbent President Mnangagwa.
"The new dispensation provides the right traction for an FDI led growth, in the wake of positive attitude already towards business by Government, this shows Zimbabwe is now open for business," said Mr Takoleza.
In terms of approvals, mining investment proposals totalled $576 million while the manufacturing sector saw interest valued $488 million. Energy, services and construction sectors recorded proposals worth $162 million, $153 million and $106 million respectively. Approved investments into tourism, agriculture and transport sectors performed poorly with $17 million, $12 million and $300 000 worth proposals, respectively.
"Given the observed developments in the investment environment we expect approvals to increase this year and to record above $2,5 billion in 2018," said Mr Takoleza.
Government has already shown its desire to improve Zimbabwe's investment environment after announcing it was already in the process of amending the Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Act, to allay investors' fears and attract foreign investment. The legislation was one of the issues frequently raised by investors for their decision not to consider Zimbabwe as prime destination for FDI.
President Mnangagwa, while in Davos, Switzerland for the World Economic Forum, stressed that he believed a multi-pronged approach that Zimbabwe was pursuing would yield significant results. The approach is anchored on creation of a conducive business environment. In an interview with The Herald on the sidelines of the forum, the President expressed optimism that Zimbabwe would attract FDI going forward.
"Already, we have seen increased inflows of foreign capital in the country in just over 60 days," he said.
"The volume of commitments is already beyond what we would get in a year in the past. At the end of the year, in my personal view, we might close the year catching up or possibly outstripping some of our neighbours in terms of the capital we will attract to the country," said President Mnangagwa.