Investors welcome, but…


AS President Emmerson Mnangagwa rolls out his re-engagement drive, there are some who must be wondering why Zimbabwe has been isolated for so long.
Zimbabwe, with its vast strategic mineral reserves, should have always been a lucrative investment centre, paradoxically, especially for the Western world.
What with chrome, platinum and nickel, among many others!
Remember the repeal of the Byrd Amendment of 1973, which allowed the US to import chrome and nickel from rebel Rhodesia in violation of the UN economic sanctions against the illegal Ian Smith regime.
Such defiance demonstrates the extent to which the US valued our strategic minerals.
When unilateral sanctions were later imposed on Zimbabwe over a land dispute with Britain, the West was united in its determination to economically strangle the former British colony.
Zimbabwe, as a victim of unsanctioned UN embargo, was then vilified left, right and centre.
Virtually all international news media, be it print or electronic, were unrelenting in presenting the former British colony as a rogue state.
The pariah status conferred on Zimbabwe meant the country was not fit to do business with.
For nearly 20 years, the economy of the country stood still.
Eventually, the land dispute with Britain lost steam and the Land Reform Programme has now been accepted as a fait accompli.
But because of sanctions and isolation, the country’s economy has fallen several years behind that of its neighbours like Zambia and Mozambique.
Enter President Mnangagwa!
The latest dispensation ushered in by the new Zimbabwean President seeks to bring to the fore realities which cannot be ignored.
Zimbabwe needs the skill and technology of the rich who can boost its economy through foreign direct investment (FDI) and the creation of job opportunities which follow.
On the other hand, the investors need Zimbabwe’s natural resources and the educated manpower which is in abundance.
Added to the vast mineral resources, Zimbabwe also has soils and climate ideal for investment in agricultural projects.
So it looks like there is no longer any need for Western investors to continue cutting their noses to spite their faces.
Investment opportunities are there for their taking.
This, especially so, at a time when Zimbabwe has decided to give the language of politics a back seat, to be replaced by that of business.
This paradigm shift has to be understood in order to woo investors to do business with Zimbabwe.
Bearing in mind the negative propaganda which had forced investors to shun our country, an aggressive awareness campaign was imperative.
That is why on assuming office, President Mnangagwa ‘hit the ground running’, reaching out to investors in the SADC region, at the Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, as well as the recent AU summit.
This meant re-engagement with those once ‘hostile’ as well as consolidating ties with old friends.
We are impressed by the overwhelming success rate so far.
President Mnangagwa told a rally in Mashonaland Central on Wednesday that the country had attracted over
US$3 billion in FDI in the past seven weeks.
Previously, the country had struggled to attract
US$400 million in 12 months.
But a word of warning!
FDI, should not mean compromising one’s sovereignty.
As far as political matters are concerned, Zimbabwe should never lower its guard, especially when dealing with the West.
Remember how Libya was feted by its ‘new’ Western friends before French jets were sent to decimate the country.
Zimbabwe is not begging for investors, but is warmly welcoming those who want to do business with her on a win-win basis.


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