Investment: Key delegations set for Zimbabwe

Janet Shoko* [caption id="attachment_13380" align="alignleft" width="480"]Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa played a critical role in negotiating the Chinese deals and says Asia's economic giant would only fund bankable projects. Photo©Reuters Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa played a critical role in negotiating the Chinese deals and says Asia’s economic giant would only fund bankable projects. Photo©Reuters[/caption] Two key business delegations from China and the United Kingdom respectively, whose prime aim is to assess Zimbabwe’s economic status and help implement the economic blueprint, the Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation (Zim Asset), are due in the coming weeks. Zimbabwe recently inked several memorandums of understanding (MOUs) with the Chinese for the implementation of multi-sector infrastructural projects, including power generation, water, telecommunications and mining. The country has this year unsuccessfully sought a $27 billion funding to implement its ZimAsset economic blueprint. First of the two business delegations to jet in would be delegates from the United Kingdom, who will be followed by Chinese group. The British Embassy last week said the theme of the mission was, “applying UK expertise in project finance, infrastructure and development to support the implementation of ZimAsset”. During their stay, the delegates are expected to interact with senior members of the Zimbabwean government, state companies and captains of industry, international donors and British businesses already operating in the country. “Trade and investment is vital for Zimbabwe’s development. We want to strengthen business links and to show our commitment, we are sending a Trade Mission,” British Ambassador to Zimbabwe Catriona Laing said. “To translate interest into investment, the government of Zimbabwe will need to reassure investors that their assets will be secure — for example by clarifying its indigenisation policy.” Zimbabwe’s relations with its former colonial master soured at the turn of the millennium after the country embarked on a haphazard fast-track land reform programme that decimated the agriculture sector. A group of Chinese experts is expected in November for key feasibility studies that might determine whether deals agreed on by the two countries can go ahead. In August President Robert Mugabe’s embarked on a state visit to the Asian economic giant and sealed several deals, which will see the Zimbabwe receive assistance. Despite the hype, the need to first conduct feasibility studies is seen as an indication that it will be a while before the projects can be implemented. Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa, who played a critical role in negotiating the Chinese deals, told parliament in September that the Chinese would only fund bankable projects. “What we have been able to achieve was serious engagement with the Chinese authorities. We got a commitment from the highest authority to fund bankable and viable projects,” he said. “China does not give budgetary support to any country. It is interested in giving infrastructural support.” *theafricareport]]>

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