Comment: Uncertainty, Zim’s investment bogeyman

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The call by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai for government ministers to desist from political rhetoric scaring away investors should be taken seriously.

Foreign direct investment (FDI) is viewed as a major stimulus to economic growth in developing countries because of its perceived ability to deal with major obstacles such as shortages of financial resources, technology, and skills.

Tsvangirai told MDC-T supporters at his party’s 12th anniversary celebrations last week that policy differences in the inclusive government were spiriting away thousands of desperately needed jobs.

The PM is dead right that all parties in the inclusive government should speak with one voice in matters involving investment. Double-speak, he said, would never benefit anyone.

Tsvangirai said Zimbabwe was in desperate need of investment and politicking over national investment should be avoided at all costs. Politics should not meddle in government policy.

The Prime Minister emphasised the need to create confidence in international business investors and said he was not in agreement with the policies that Zanu PF sought to present as national or government positions.

According to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, the bad publicity the African continent gets has played a big role in discouraging foreign investors from investing.

The most common reason given for Africa’s failure to attract FDI is the image that Africa is home to civil unrest, starvation, deadly diseases and economic disorder.

Image is everything when it comes to investment attraction.

Perception of political instability in the country has been cited on a number of platforms as a major impediment to Zimbabwe’s resurrection from its economic grave.

Zimbabwe has no choice, but to ensure that there is certainty on both the political and economic front as this is what investors desire to see before they invest in this country.

Despite holding a number of investment conferences this year, little has come out of these talk shops.

On Wednesday a third mining conference in as many months commenced in the capital, but investors remain sceptical.

There is so much anxiety among investors, particularly in the mining sector, following threats by the government to cancel operating licences of a number of mining companies for alleged failure to comply with the indigenisation and empowerment regulations.