Zim urged to respect rule of law to attract US investors

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VISITING top United States government officials have pledged to encourage American companies to invest in Zimbabwe despite worries that the country is not doing well in key business indices.

BUSINESS REPORTER

US State Department Deputy Assistant Secretary for African Affairs Shannon Smith and Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labour Steven Feldstein are on a week-long visit to meet government officials, representatives of business and political parties.

The two on Tuesday met Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa and yesterday met business people where discussions focused on ways Zimbabwe could improve its rankings in the Ease of Doing Business survey.

“We looked at the ease of doing business measure, which I think is an important survey, which companies intending to do investment use as a tool,” Smith said.

Feldstein weighed in, saying Zimbabwe should also improve on implementing the rule of law, as this was another key measure which drove investment from abroad.

“We see a lot of opportunity in Zimbabwe and some of those policies that we have talked about are able to be advanced, then there’s no reason why there can be no economic prosperity in Zimbabwe,” he said.

The two said with a better human rights environment, attracting businesses from the west would be easier.

“We do tell American businesses to invest in Zimbabwe, our goal is prosperity at home (US) and here, but any investor who is going to come here is going to look at those indices, they are going to look at policies and ask if this is a place where their investment is safe,” Smith said.

“We want to encourage American businesses, but also encourage your government here to look at questions that might consolidate that kind of investment.”
Zimbabwe is ranked 171 out 175 in the 2014 Ease of Doing Business Report.

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