The government said it was looking for commercial business partnerships with regional institutions in order to protect local industries and make them competitive.
The Ministry of Regional Integration and International Cooperation permanent secretary Tedious Chifamba told a Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce congress that the creation of a single market by the merging of Southern Africa Development Community (Sadc) and Common Market for East and Southern Africa (Comesa) should benefit the country.
He said the market that is being created would help Zimbabwe get assistance on a commercial basis.
“We are not looking for aid by but a win-win commercial business partnership by promoting foreign direct investment inflows.
“Regional and financial institutions should assist Zimbabwe in regaining its regional market share by supporting those enterprises that were once lead players before,” said Chifamba.
He said the country made liberalisation commitment for three sectors namely communications, finance and tourism before the economic melt down and it now required protection for its industries.
“We had lowered barriers, the challenge is how we can maintain this liberalisation commitment and at the same time protect our fragile industries as they rebuild capacity. The bottomline is to build on what we have on Sadc and Comesa.”
Bankers’ Association of Zimbabwe chief economist Joseph Mverecha said capital inflows were needed for capitalisation of firms, working capital and money to buy equipment and finance new projects.
“Economies grow due to foreign direct investment (FDI) as it reduces poverty, improves living standards, national development and long-term stability and social cohesion,” he said.
“Improving the investment environment is critical for FDI. Zimbabwe is presently viewed as a high-risk investment destination,” Mverecha said.
“Capital is the principal thing, therefore get capital. FDI does not answer everything but it enables you to do things,” he said.
FDI for the country has been declining since 1998 being less than $200 million per year.
Figures from the central bank and United Nations Industrial Development Organisation shows that for every dollar that the country gets four are taken out.
Southern and Eastern African Trade Information and Negotiations research officer Thomas Deve however said FDI does not necessarily bring development, but aids growth in the economy.
He said FDI comes as a package that includes capital, skills and instruments for transnational corporation.
He said there is need to mobilise domestic resources and for the government to have efficient tax collection services.
“Government should plug leakages. There is promotion of corruption everywhere and competition in taking money from us citizens will not take us anywhere.
“When a state is broke it mugs its people in every twist and turn. There is a Zimbabwe Revenue Authority official and a police officer everywhere,” he said.
Deve said the government should try to source money from people in the Diaspora.