CONFEDERATION of Zimbabwe Industry president Kumbirayi Katsande says there is still growing interest by investors on Zimbabwe despite the political challenges the country is facing.
Report by Mernat Mafirakurewa
Zimbabwe is set to hold watershed elections next year that would bring to an end the inclusive government, which has been credited with bringing about relative economic stability.
The country has also ratcheted up pressure on foreign-owned companies to cede 51% shareholding to locals through the indigenisation programme.
“We are seeing a growing interest in investment in this country despite the political issues that we are still to deal with in the next 12 to 18 months,” Katsande said.
“We were talking to the European Union the other day and there is continuing interest.”
Trade between Zimbabwe and the EU has doubled since 2009.
The EU is the biggest market for horticultural products, accounting for 80% of flower exports, 70% of vegetables and 50% of citrus.
Statistics show that Zimbabwe’s exports to the EU rose 46% last year to $577 million.
Katsande said the industry body continued to record company closures, especially in the manufacturing sector.
“For one reason or another, we have not been investing in our economy as much as we should and as a result, we have not seen the growth,” he said.
“Without growth there is no jobs, without investment there is no growth.Because we have not invested this festive season we are rushing to spend our hard-earned money on imported products from South Africa.”
“We are supporting jobs in South Africa.So, when we celebrate over the Christmas period lets pay a thought, we are actually making South Africans happy.”
Local retail outlets remain heavily dependent on imports from South Africa as the country’s manufacturing sector is still battling to recover as the economy has become more reliant on imported inputs.
Low capacity utilisation levels largely stem from firms depending on obsolete machinery, power outages, higher input costs due to lack of domestic linkages, limited availability and high cost of finance, stiff competition over domestic and export markets.
Investment in most of the sectors has remained subdued.