Swedish companies are optimistic about investing in the country charmed by the Zimbabwe is open for business mantra.
BY FIDELITY MHLANGA
Last week, Industry, Commerce and Enterprise Development minister Mike Bimha, Finance deputy minister Terrence Mukupe and executives from the Zimbabwe Investment Authority, Chamber of Mines and ZimTrade presented to the Swedish delegation on various investment opportunities in the country.
Voith Hydro International sales manager, Stefan Borsos told NewsDay after the pitch that he was impressed by the vast investment opportunities offered the country, particularly in the mining and agriculture sectors
“I feel very optimistic, now we have an opportunity to come here with this delegation to hear that Zimbabwe is open for business and the investment climate is changing here. To develop a business or trade, you have to be thinking in the long term. So I think this is a first step and definitely we have to come back. We will also spread the word to our sister community in Sweden on what opportunities are here,” he said.
“I see there are many in agriculture and mining sector and there are minerals to manufacture batteries. The largest battery manufacturing facility is now being built in Sweden and they will need these minerals. So I see this start of a very interesting future.”
While politics was important in determining investment decisions, Borsos said he was not worried, as he felt the country’s political environment was heading in the right direction.
“Politics is very important depending on the winning party and winning President. It’s very crucial. I am not worried about that though that I have come here and have heard that Zimbabwe is open for business. I feel confident that the politics are going the right way,” he said.
Voith Hydro is a 130-year-old company that has worked on at least 25% of hydro power projects in the world.
Swedfund senior investment manager, Anders Craft said he would follow closely the elections due by August this year.
“I think Zimbabwe has a lot to offer, we need to understand what’s happening on the ground here and we will follow closely now what’s happening in the elections and after. But, we also in the business plan of focusing on this market, Africa and Sub-Sahara is a major focus for us and Zimbabwe is right in the middle there. There is opportunity to invest directly in debt financing as well as equity,” he said.
Craft said the fund would want to invest in banks, manufacturing, healthcare and agro business in Zimbabwe with each investment ranging from $3 million to $25 million.
The Swedish companies’ visit was arranged by the Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce in partnership with the Swedish African Chamber of Commerce (SSACC) supported by the embassy of Sweden in Zimbabwe.
SSACC president, ASA Jarskog, said there were many members who could not come with the delegation and he was looking forward to bringing them in the next few months.
Swedish ambassador to Zimbabwe, Sofia Caltorp said she was happy to host the delegation, adding that the Scandinavian nation could provide a good example to support Zimbabwe by scaling up trade and investment.
Other companies that were part of the delegation are ABB, Confidere AB, Okapi Finance International AB, Hand in Hand Sweden.