AFRICANGLOBE – The re-kindled interest in Zimbabwe as an investment destination witnessed in the last few weeks should energise the economy and its players as we move to fend off challenges that have seen a downward revision of the 2014 Gross Domestic Product growth to 3.1 percent from an initial 6.1 percent.
China and Russia have come out in full force to support the country’s efforts to revive the economy through investment in major projects that will certainly inject life into the economy. We also acknowledge interest by other countries that have shown great faith in this country following President Mugabe and Zanu-PF’s resounding victory in the July 31, 2013 harmonised elections.
Zimbabwe’s guiding economic policy — The Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation (Zim-Asset), has also made this country more attractive to investors as it clearly enunciates its potential and roadmap up to 2018.
This week the country is hosting a business delegation from Russia, led by Foreign Minister Mr Sergey Lavrov, which is in Zimbabwe to pursue deals in the mining, energy, agriculture and infrastructure development sectors, among others.
Zimbabwe and Russia have always enjoyed good economic and political relations which can only be consolidated.
The visit comes hardly a few weeks after Zimbabwe and China signed mega-deals across the economic spectrum, expected to create thousands of jobs while accounting for at least 23 percent of GDP.
This bodes well with Zim-Asset, which highlights Foreign Direct Investment as a critical avenue through which jobs and wealth can be created. Improved trade is also vital in helping Zimbabwe’s balance of payment position that has remained precarious over the past few years.
Therefore, we should not take these visits lightly as a country but should, instead, view them as a vote of confidence in the economy and its potential. The Chinese and Russians are key global players from whose relations Zimbabwe will benefit immensely.
We are excited by the outcome of yesterday’s First Session of the Zimbabwe-Russia Joint Permanent Commission on Economic Technical and Trade Co-operation where trade and investments deals were forged. We anticipate more news in this regard and discussions continue.
Trade between Zimbabwe and Russia is expected to grow significantly from the visit while the latter intends to pour in substantial funds in joint venture deals that will give impetus to Zim-Asset.
The next few days should see Government and business come together to discuss areas of common interest with Russia. Indeed Government has facilitated these interactions and business has not disappointed either. Such teamwork and concerted focus will yield positive results for this economy.
The 7.3 percent annual growth rate anticipated under Zim-Asset will be achieved or even exceeded if major stakeholders in the economy remain steadfast in their pursuit for trade and investment opportunities. As the Government prepares for these mega deals, institutions like the Zimbabwe Investment Authority need to expeditiously work at improving project approval processes and timeframes so they become more user-friendly.
The banking sector, customs and immigration, and the rest of the economy should not be found wanting either. The future of this country looks bright and such high profile visits increase the optimism and confidence that the economy is destined for bigger things.
Commitment from the top, as demonstrated by President Mugabe in his recent State Visit to China, can only induce confidence and send the message out there that Zimbabwe is steadfast in its attempt to restore the economy.
Zimbabwe is richly endowed with mineral and other natural resources which should trigger economic recovery if exploited fully. with the help of partners like Russia and China.
We applaud these all-weather friends for their big hearts and the confidence they have demonstrated in our country at a time the West has largely tried to smother us.
Zimbabwe certainly has the wherewithal to reclaim its position as a force to reckon with in the region. The star is now shining brighter.
It requires us as Zimbabweans to work in concert and make the most of opportunities that repose in this economy.
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