SA firms urged to invest in Zimbabwe

27 March 2012

Deputy Trade and Industry Minister Elizabeth Thabethe has urged South African companies to take advantage of the improving situation in Zimbabwe and invest in the neighbouring country.

Thabethe was giving the keynote address at a business seminar attended by more than 250 business people at the Rainbow Towers Hotel in Harare on Monday.

The seminar formed part of a four-day trade and investment initiative by South Africa’s Department of Trade and Industry. Thabethe is leading a 45-person business delegation on the initiative, which ends in Bulawayo on Thursday.

‘Economic and structural reforms’

“Zimbabwe has been carrying out economic and structural reforms which have improved economic performance and sustained growth,” Thabethe said. “Since 2009, Zimbabwe has had positive growth rates above 5% per annum, reaching 5.9% in 2010.”

She added that investment in the development of infrastructure in Zimbabwe would have a high rate of return, as it would lead to an increase in demand for manufactured and capital equipment.

“There are enormous opportunities in the development of the continent’s vast resources, and the creation of critical infrastructure in roads, railways, ports and utilities.”

Investment and trade

Since 2003, South African companies have undertaken investment projects in Zimbabwe totalling more than US$619-million, contributing to the creation of more than 2 000 jobs in Zimbabwe’s metals, minerals, tourism and financial services industries.

Over the same period, foreign direct investment from Zimbabwe into South Africa amounted to $154-million. Trade between the two countries stood at R20-billion in 2011.

Zimbabwean Deputy Industry and Commerce Minister Mike Bimha and Deputy Economic Planning and Investment Promotion Minister Samuel Undenge also addressed the seminar.

Making it easier to do business

Undenge said his government had launched a medium term economic plan aimed at growing, stabilising and transforming the Zimbabwean economy, making it easier for foreign companies to invest in the country and establish partnerships with Zimbabwean companies.

Speaking ahead of the trip, Thabethe said the South African government was committed to Zimbabwe’s recovery and development.

“South Africa’s economy is inextricably linked to Zimbabwe’s economy,” Thabethe added. “Due to its geographical proximity to South Africa, Zimbabwe’s political and economic welfare has a direct impact on South Africa.”

SAinfo reporter and BuaNews