ECONOMIC Planning and Investment Promotion minister Tapiwa Mashakada says Zimbabwe wants to improve trade with Germany amid concerns that the European Union (EU)’s largest economy is unhappy with the existing bilateral trade agreement with Harare.
REPORT BY BERNARD MPOFU CHIEF BUSINESS REPORTER
Mashakada yesterday told NewsDay that Germany’s Economic Co-operation and Development Federal minister Dirk Niebel — who arrived in the country at the weekend — was scheduled to meet Foreign Affairs minister Samuel Mumbengegwi, Finance minister Tendai Biti, Water Resources minister Samuel Sipepa Nkomo and other key government officials in a bid to strengthen bilateral ties.
“We are happy that Germany investors are still keen on investing in the country. This is the first visit by a high level government official in 15 years,” Mashakada said.
“However, they are concerned with Zimbabwe’s violation of the Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement and we hope that those issues will be resolved to inspire confidence on potential German investors.
“He will visit waterworks in Bulawayo, which will hopefully result in a permanent solution to the city’s water crisis.”
He added that Zimbabwe was seeking to partner with German manufacturers of industrial and mining equipment at a time when local manufacturing companies were struggling due to limited capital and antiquated machinery.
“We want new technology. As you might be aware, Germany is one of the leading exporters of industrial equipment,” Mashakada said.
“We are also happy that the return of Germany companies such as Botsch is a sign that investors are still keen on doing business with Zimbabwe.”
Zimbabwe’s foreign direct investment inflows plunged to 3% of the country’s gross domestic product after relations between the country and the EU became frosty.
This resulted in the Germany government cancelling all development projects after accusing President Robert Mugabe’s government of violating human rights.
According to the World Bank’s latest report on doing business globally, Zimbabwe was this year ranked 171 out of 181 countries — three places down from 168 in 2011.