SA firms eye opportunities in Zimbabwe

16 October 2012

There are abundant opportunities for South African companies to invest in neighbouring Zimbabwe, and the onus is on business people from both countries to work together to translate these into tangible economic benefits, says Deputy Trade and Industry Minister Elizabeth Thabethe.

Thabethe was speaking at a business seminar in Harare on Tuesday at the start of the fourth Investment and Trade Initiative (ITI) that the deputy minister has led to Zimbabwe.

The Department of Trade and Industry’s ITIs are part of its drive to create investment and export opportunities for South African companies in targeted high-growth markets.

Thabethe has in recent months led South Africa business delegations on a number of such missions, to countries including Gabon, Cameroon, Benin and the DRC.

Speaking in Harare on Tuesday, she said South Africa had recognised that, like many African economies, Zimbabwe was working to provide an enabling environment for foreign direct investment (FDI).

“The recently launched Zimbabwe Industrial Development Policy is one policy instrument that is poised to address the social and economic challenges [facing potential investors]. The policy will also give certainty to potential investors,” Thabethe said in a statement issued by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).

According to the DTI, a delegation of about 40 South African businesspeople is accompanying Thabethe, with representatives from sectors including infrastructure, manufacturing, agriculture and agro-processing, mining and mining capital equipment, as well as information and communication technology.

The delegation is due to travel to Bulawayo on Wednesday, with a stop in Kwekwe, where the Midlands Chamber of Commerce will brief them on investment opportunities in the region.

In a statement last week, Thabethe said the 3rd ITI to Zimbabwe, which took place in March, had “confirmed that Zimbabwe continues to be an important export destination for South African value-added products.

“This is evident from the export sales amounting to R22-million recorded at the event by the South African companies who were part of the initiative,” Thabethe said, adding that export orders worth R107-million were expected to be finalised within a year of the event.

“The South African businesspeople had an opportunity to discuss business matters, potential deals and partnerships with the 260 businesspeople from Zimbabwe who attended the business seminars and business-to-business meetings. A total number of 200 trade leads were obtained,” Thabethe said.

SAinfo reporter