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German investors bank on political certainty


German Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SAGCC) says it will decide on leading a business delegation after a clear political direction in the country following the disputed July 30 elections.


The chamber’s regional co-ordinator in Southern Africa, Lea Heidemann, told NewsDay that the country’s past wrongs were a huge indictment in attracting investment.

“Yes, concrete plans will be made once a new government is in place and a political direction is clear,” she said.

Heidemann said challenges that currently repelled German companies from investing in the country included bureaucratic bungling, undue interference by government, an inefficient banking system and poor infrastructure.

This came after the Germany-Africa Business Association last month said investments from Germany would start flowing into Zimbabwe once transparency, rule of law and a concerted anti-corruption drive started to bear fruit in the African nation.

Michael Monnerjahn, the German-African Business Association manager for customer relations and publications, told journalists attending the International Journalism Programme last month that German companies’ decision to invest was informed more by a good political landscape.

While currently there was no meaningful quantum of German investments in Zimbabwe, Heidemann said only six big German investments in Zimbabwe were spread across agriculture, forestry, mining, tourism, textile and chrome smelting.

She said there were some smaller companies owned by German Zimbabwe Residents, but these could not be regarded as foreign direct investment.

Heidemann said the incoming government must after elections work very hard to build trust among investors.

“Could well be, but first the business climate has to change considerably and trust has to be established by the government. The past plays quite a big role, that is land reform and inconsistent indigenisation laws,” she said.

She added that in the past, business delegations that came into the country were “not necessarily investors”, but people mainly interested in trade relations.

SAGCC represents German Industry in Southern Africa. The Chamber supports the work of over 600 member companies in the region.

Established in 1952, the chamber’s head office is located in Johannesburg. Two branch offices in Cape Town and Durban and two offices in Lusaka (Zambia) and Maputo (Mozambique) offer member companies and clients a network of business partners covering the Southern African region.

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