Zimbabwe: Ambassador Katsande Pledges Govt Support for UK-Based Zim Investors

Zimbabwe's ambassador to the United Kingdom has committed to expeditiously assist all potential investors intending to invest capital in the recovering southern African nation's struggling economy.

Addressing delegates at the virtual Zimbabwe Finance Conference (ZFC) organised by the Financial Markets Indaba Wednesday, Ambassador Christian Katsande implored the investor community to tap into Zimbabwe's vast economic opportunities, especially in the Special Economic Zones (SEZ), mining, agriculture, and manufacturing.

He emphasised the huge economic strides made in Zimbabwe to date have seen the monthly inflation figures reducing to 1.58% on the back of a stabilising local currency and guaranteed foreign currency access on the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe's (RBZ) Foreign Exchange Auction System.

Last week, Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube confirmed that Zimbabweans living and working outside the country had remitted US$1 billion to their relatives back home.

Millions of Zimbabweans have left the country in search of greener pastures due to economic and political challenges.

However, they have not been willing or unable to invest in the revival of the country's economy due to unfavourable government policies and high-level corruption among senior government officials in getting their businesses approved.

But, Katsande told guests at the ZFC conference that all the bottlenecks encountered by investors had been removed by the government in keeping with President Emmerson Mnangagwa's mantra that; "Zimbabwe is open for business."

"Special Economic Zones have been established in Harare Sunway City, Bulawayo, Fernhill in Mutare and Victoria Falls. Companies are expected to be established in medicals and manufacturing and chrome mining," he said.

"Distinguished guests, Zimbabwe is open for business and the embassy is ready to facilitate and assist you as you explore vast opportunities back home," he said.

Speaking at the same conference, the deputy director in the Economic Research and Policy Division at the RBZ, Nebson Mupunga urged UK-based investors to tap into the obtaining recovering economic environment which has well-capitalised banking institutions operating well above the 12% threshold requirements.

"To date, the central bank has managed to create a conducive environment and as we proceed, we expect banks to offer more attractive products for the banking and investing public. Interest rates for deposits have been reduced to 2.5% by the central bank in a bid to motivate long-term deposits," he said.

Participants also called for fundamental domestic savings mobilisation and confidence restoration to drive economic growth.

"Without these savings, companies are forced to borrow externally, and with current sovereign risk, these borrowings tend to be very expensive. So it becomes a vicious cycle. Policies for the financial services sector need to increase confidence," Barings Asset Management director Brian Mangwiro said.

Zimbabwe has seen its monthly inflation rate falling to 1.58% in April 2021, the lowest since September 2018, and for the eighth month in a row, the country has seen monthly rises in the cost of living of less than 5,5% reflecting sustained stability.

Coupled with the exchange rate stability, Zimbabwe has a huge appetite for investment as it moves on the path to achieve growth after decades of economic decline.

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