By Alois Vinga
ZONFUL Energy founder and CEO, William Ponela has castigated foreign investors who are riding on the negative risk factors of Zimbabwe and in turn manipulate desperate locals seeking to raise capital.
Due to international isolation over a number of issues chief among them being human rights abuses, Harare has struggled to unlock capital for highly talented citizens.
Local financiers and the government have done their best to fill the gap over the years though the funds availed have not been enough.
The situation has left local entrepreneurs with no choice except to scout for suitors beyond the borders who can buy into their ideas for long standing partnerships.
But sharing experiences during the Swiss Development Corporation- EEP Africa Stakeholder Event in Harare, Ponela said the negative country risk factors attached to Zimbabwe have served as a double edged sword for local entrepreneurs.
“The political risk factors tag attached to Zimbabwe makes it very difficult to raise capital .It is a double edged sword which has also worked to the disadvantage of local entrepreneurs. The common trend I have experienced lately is that foreign investors approach us and pretend to be interested in our projects.
“They force us to go through sleepless nights preparing some paperwork over and above access to our confidential information only to go quiet at the end of the day without any reason being divulged,” he said.
Ponela also revealed that he recently met an investor who pretended to be interested in his project only to discover that the foreign investor had stolen all the confidential information and established another company operating exactly the same business as his.
“So in the end you would realize that some of these foreign investors are simply thriving on our desperation back home to present these flowery ideas when in actual fact they are on a mission to hijack our ideas,” he added.