A 33-member South African business delegation is in the country to seek investment and trading opportunities as foreign direct investment (FDI) from Zimbabwe’s regional neighbours has surpassed $1,3 billion since 2003.
BY TATIRA ZWINOIRA
This came as total trading between South Africa and Zimbabwe for 2015 came in at $4,2 billion, nearly half of the total trading bill.
Speaking at the 6th Investment and Trade Initiative yesterday in Harare, South African Trade and Industry deputy minister Mzwandile Masina said the FDI investments were between 2003 to the end of 2015 period.
“A number of South African companies continue to operate in Zimbabwe, principally in the mining, tourism, agriculture, banking and retail sectors. According to FDI Markets, between 2003 and 2015, South Africa invested $1,29 billion (R20 billion) in Zimbabwe in the mining, agriculture, banking and retail sectors,” Masina said in a speech read on his behalf by South Africa’s deputy director general-trade and investment Pumla Ncapayi.
The trade and investment initiative is being held under the theme “Strengthening Business Linkages Between South Africa and Zimbabwe”. The programme runs up to Saturday.
“I am of the view that the South African business representatives accompanying me today also have a crucial role to play in growing not only our trade volumes, but also investments into Zimbabwe that would yield a multiplier effect as it relates to job creation, poverty alleviation and ultimately economic emancipation of our people.”
He said the 33 companies represent diverse sectors that are seeking to invest in agro-processing, mining, healthcare, infrastructure and information and communication technology amongst others.
The initiative is being hosted by government and the private sector to boost trade and investment from South Africa that in recent years was skewed in favour of the Southern African country.
In 2014, Zimbabwe exported goods and services worth over $2 billion, but its imports from South Africa were $2,73 billion giving a trade deficit of $684 million. Industry and Commerce deputy minister Chiratidzo Mabuwa said the way to balance the deficit between the two countries would be to seek investment in Zimbabwe’s productive sectors, amongst them manufacturing.
“Government is flexible on other investments to this end the government decentralised functions to line ministries to determine the proportion of local shares for their respective sectors on a case by case basis,” Mabuwa said.
Government is desperately seeking investment in the manufacturing sector to recapitalise it as the embattled sector has suffered from lack of capital investment, hampering the country from producing substantial exports.