ZIMBABWE’S all-weather friend China yesterday said the government’s economic blueprint ZimAsset could only bear fruit if government dealt effectively with the scourge of corruption.
Industrial Commercial Bank of China chief executive officer Wang Wenbin yesterday told MPs during a ZimAsset workshop at a Harare hotel that China managed to become the world’s largest growing economy with a 7,7% growth rate after it launched an effective anti-corruption campaign targeting both “tigers and flies”.
“We had a nationwide anti-corruption movement targeting both the tigers and flies and ministers were investigated, and some of them are already in jail for corruption,” Wang said. “You cannot make an economy grow to higher levels without tackling corruption.”
Wang said Chinese investments worldwide amounted to $21 billion in Africa alone and $532 billion in the world while foreign direct investment (FDI) to Zimbabwe was $400 million in 2012.
Ding Younghya of China Railway Construction Corporation said FDI should be encouraged by bringing down tariff barriers and providing preferential policies and incentives.
Former Norwegian Deputy Finance minister and adviser to the Oil for Development Programme (Norway) Vidar Ovesen said: “The Norway SWF (Sovereign Wealth Fund) was managed with a high level of transparency and citizens had a right to know how government resources and revenue were managed and right now the SWF has a value of $850 billion, which translates to $170 000 per person.”
Ovesen said when the Zimbabwean Parliament crafts its SWF Bill, it should ensure that politicians do not interfere in the day-to-day management of the fund and promote accountability in use of natural resources.
Speaking at the same event, Deputy Finance minister Samuel Undenge said in order to attract FDI, the country’s Look East Policy would be strengthened, Islamic bonds invited while natural resources, taxes and Diaspora remittances would be harnessed. “The ZimAsset projected growth rate of the economy is 6,1% in 2014; 6,4% in 2015; 6,5% in 2016; 7,9% in 2017; 9,9% in 2018 and the average envisaged growth rate for the five-year period is 7,3%,” he said.