Foreign investors eyeing Zimbabwe

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HARARE – There has been increased interest in Zimbabwe from investors following the new political dispensation, but the country still has a long way to play catch up with regional peers.

Issues surrounding the ease of transacting and the country’s ranking on global competitiveness have remained a major concern to potential investors.

South African based economist at Rand Merchant Bank (RMB) global markets division, Neville Mandimika said currency uncertainties were also downplaying Zimbabwe’s potential to boost its foreign direct investment, albeit the increase in inquiries.

“Following the new dispensation there has been a lot of inquiries from people about Zimbabwe. But there is still a lot the country needs to do to improve its operating environment.

“Issues to do with bond notes for instance, there is uncertainty around that. The ease of transacting in Zimbabwe is very low relative to regional peers,” he said during a Zimreal Property Investment Forum held recently in the capital.

In 2016, Zimbabwe was ranked 39 on most attractive countries while its regional peers Botswana, Zambia, Mozambique and Malawi were ranked 12, 17, 19, and 30 respectively out of the 54 countries in Africa.

In terms of the continent’s gross domestic product, Zimbabwe accounts for only 1 percent of Africa’s economy while Kenya and Nigeria are at 7 percent and 32 percent respectively.

Mandimika said there was room for growth as a country to increase its market share in the region’s economy as well as catch up with others.

To get to Zambia’s current level, Zimbabwe needs to grow at 6, 5 percent a year for the next 5 years and 7 percent to catch up with Uganda.

Addressing ease of doing business in the country would determine how Zimbabwe’s open doors to the world economic activity lets in investors.–

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