Chinese Businesses Lauded For Commitment To Investing In Zimbabwe

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THE Chamber of Chinese Enterprises in Zimbabwe has been lauded for coming up with a nine-point document spelling out how Chinese businesses in the southern African country should conduct their business affairs.

The statement, the first of its kind, contains rules and guidelines on how Chinese companies should conduct themselves to promote win-win cooperation between the two countries.

The statement that was issued last Tuesday by the Chamber, a grouping of 80 Chinese companies operating in Zimbabwe, came after a barrage of biased attacks on Chinese companies and their investments in Zimbabwe by some Western-sponsored media outlets over the past few months.

In a published article Monday, the state-controlled Herald newspaper said the statement by the Chamber was important for its pragmatism, candor, good spirit and a deep sense of responsibility.

It was an important document that will be referenced for a long time to come, the article said. “A number of pointers make this an important and seminal document.”

“First of all, in outlining nine major points, the statement touched virtually all aspects of Chinese and foreign investment in Zimbabwe from how companies should conduct business from obtaining relevant paperwork to how they should interact with communities and the media,” said the article. “A candid sense of responsibility weaves through the statement, noting how Chinese companies have to comply with local laws and regulations as well as traditions and sensitivities.”

The newspaper article acknowledged the lack of enforcement of laws and monitoring of Chinese projects by the Zimbabwean officials, resulting in pitfalls such as conflict with local communities.

The stance taken by the Chamber, however, demonstrates its utmost sensitivity and systems thinking when it comes to investing in Zimbabwe, the article said. “Chinese operations in Zimbabwe could just have turned the corner. The companies — through the Chamber — have come of age.”

“It is commendable that Chinese companies are set to apply and be guided by the highest standards and some universally acceptable approaches to business. The Chamber has taken a stand against bad practices and work cultures. This is raising the bar very high not just for the Chinese companies but also other investors.”

Chinese investors, local communities and Zimbabwean people are all winners in the new paradigm, but the Zimbabwean side must play its part and ensure a conducive investment climate, the article said.

Such issues like bureaucratic inefficiencies, corruption and rent-seeking practices by some local actors as well as lack of regulatory clarity on a number of areas militate against foreign investment in Zimbabwe, the article warned. “There is clearly no doubt that the Chinese business community want, and have begun to fix things, which is also a great indicator that they are in Zimbabwe to stay.”