FINANCIAL services group Old Mutual Zimbabwe has appointed an agent to help sell group products such as mortgages to Zimbabweans living in the United Kingdom as well as help them invest back home.
In a statement, Afro-Global Marketing UK said they had been appointed to represent OM Zimbabwe, CABS and Stanbic Bank in a development expected to help facilitate Diaspora access to financial instruments and other investments back in Zimbabwe.
“Zimbabweans in the UK will play a key role in rebuilding Zimbabwe and investing back home is only the first step,” said Shane Manjelo, the managing director of Afro-Global Marketing.
“Zimbabweans in the UK for years have played a major role in Zimbabwe’s financial revival and Old Mutual Zimbabwe’s partnership with Afro-Global Marketing UK demonstrates recognition of the importance of capital investment from the Diaspora.”
Head of Unit Trusts at Old Mutual Group Zimbabwe, Gilbert Gumpo, added: “We are looking forward to a long and fruitful relationship with Zimbabweans in the UK and we are absolutely delighted to partner with Afro-Global Marketing to enable Zimbabweans in the UK to invest back in Zimbabwe.”
The development means Zimbabweans in the UK will now be able access basic financial instruments such as bank accounts, unit trust funds and mortgages without the inconvenience of having to travel back home.
“All applications and enquiries will be received and processed right here in the UK, removing the need to travel back to Zimbabwe to access these services,” Manjelo said.
Millions of Zimbabweans left the country to escape a biting economic crisis over the last decade with remittances sent back to support families left behind credited with helping keep the country from complete economic collapse.
“There is only one material compensation for the huge loss of skilled Zimbabweans to other countries; the absentee Zimbabweans have, despite not being active in the country’s economy, become a key mainstay of its sustenance,” economic commentator Eric Block wrote in a local weekly
A recent survey suggested that non resident Zimbabweans are sending back about US$850 million every year.
However, Block said the figure could be much higher.
“The inflows to Zimbabwe from Diasporans are considerably greater than the survey suggests. In addition to the transfers of funds, hundreds of millions of dollars worth of goods are also sent to the families at home from relations abroad,” he said.
“Thus, the total economic contribution that Zimbabwe enjoys from its nationals abroad considerably exceeded US$1 billion per annum; comparable to, or greater than the substantial earnings of Zimbabwe’s mining sector.
“These inflows are not incorporated in the determination of Zimbabwe’s Gross Domestic Product, which is the barometer for measurement of economic growth or contraction, and therefore real economic recovery is somewhat greater than statistically determined.
“Indisputably, Zimbabweans abroad constitute one of the mainstays of the economy …”