‘Policy rethink critical for Zimbabwe’s economic recovery’

AUSTRALIAN Ambassador to Zimbabwe Mathew Neuhaus yesterday said Zimbabwe needs to urgently review its investment policies to attract the much-needed foreign direct investment.

Edgar Gweshe
Own Correspondent

Neuhaus told NewsDay that the current investment policies had seriously compromised the potential of the country’s major sectors such as mining to spur economic revival.

He said Zimbabwe had failed to provide security of investments due to lack of clarity, adding that policy discord on indigenisation and Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreements (Bippas) had scared away investors.

“There is no progress on the economic side. In fact, the economy has gone backwards and that is particularly sad,” Neuhaus said.

“You have problems with banks’ liquidity system and you still have major policy debates around issues like indigenisation and land ownership.

“Recently, we heard statements around Bippas and once again effectively, we have been told that they do not provide protection. We have been told that businesses can be seized despite the existence of Bippas. There has to be a change of mindset.”

Early this month, Finance minister, Patrick Chinamasa told Parliament that Bippas do not prevent the government from compulsorily acquiring assets of foreign investors.

He said that the government was only obliged to pay compensation to the foreign investors.

Neuhaus expressed doubts that Zanu PF’s economic blueprint, the Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation [ZimAsset] would help revive the country’s economy.

Zimbabwe has been experiencing major economic downturn since last year’s disputed elections won by President Robert Mugabe.

Neuhaus said: “The government issued ZimAsset, but that is not an economic plan. It is just an aspirational document. It lists the things that it wants to achieve, but there are no mechanisms to achieve those things.”

He said it was essential for Zimbabwe to build confidence among foreign investors by putting in place policies that guarantee security of investments.

“It is a question of confidence building for this country. The government needs therefore to take away obstacles to setting up businesses and investments here.

I would say Zimbabwe is standing in its own way. In Australia, people would want to come and invest here. There is potential for investment especially in agriculture and mining,” Neuhaus said.

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  1. Government is focusing on implementing zim asset rather to create a conjucive enviroment for investors .the government is wasting time to or by passing time by marketing zimasset which will not yield any resuilts at this time moment than to go straight to the solution, to kick start zimbabwe economy

  2. @ Ambassador Neuhaus. When an IR man and a tired Career Diplomat pretends to be Adam Smith, our intellectual ears are rattled by the discord, generalisations and the import of assumptions purportedly as tried and tested solutions. Basically the danger of an FDI-free ride has been with Africa ever since.We also know for facts that Ausy doesnt have FDI, nor can they go against British foreign policy. Your assertions swept under the carpet all other variables. Talk about diplomacy and leave FDI trends and the nature of global eco-politics to the experts.

    1. Ambassador, don’t waste your time they don’t listen. Industry has spoken about that, civil society have spoken about it, their friends in China ave spoken about it, but because they are fat they don’t understand why others are thin so they cannot listen to those advises. Don Wezhira talks as if Australia is asking Zimbabwe to invest in Australia, it is Zimbabwe hunting frantically for FDI.

  3. Vanhu, it is very sad and disappointing that as a country we do not have a strategic plan up to now. We need to work on a asap.

  4. Ambassador Neuhaus is 100%correct as we definitely need foreign investment for our economic recovery.In poor Africa we export mainly to the West most of our minerals.Worse still we have hypocrites as our leaders who basically promote racism,regionalism/xenophobia,tribalism & corruption.This world has become a global village,making it outdated to talk about one’s race. Our hypocritical leaders send their children to receive better education in European countries while our own children suffer in the destroyed Zimbabwe.. WHAT A SHAME!!!

  5. Well said Mr. Ambassador.We desperately need foreign investment in Zimbabwe.

  6. Yes, I agree 100% “Zimbabwe is standing in it’s own way”, so we need to do a policy shift asap.

  7. It is most disappointing that a country that claims to be the most literate in Africa is such a failed state on basic economics. Does Mugabe care to know what Zimbabwe’s unemployment rate is ? A few years ago, when starvation was stoking Zimbabwe, Mugabe was heard denying the hunger in Zim, saying ” we have lots of potatoes…. ”

    for those of us who have lived overseas, we find the state of affairs really sad.

    One misstate, Zimbabweans make is to assume Zimbabwe’s problems are typical in Africa, no, Zimbabwe is unique in its failures. Look at the progress Rwanda has made in just 10 years in attracting investment, for example .

  8. Indlebe Azikho

    This Ambassador has a Regime Change Agenda, she is working with MDC (not sure which one but the way she speaks is from MDC anyway).We will not listen to her. Yes we are fat and the rest of the population is thin! We fought for this country did you see any of the thin people in Mozambique or Zambia? Where was the ambassador when we were fighting her kith and kin. We own this country and if you are not happy go to the Diaspora!

  9. Nonsense.

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