By Nkosana Dlamini
TOURISM and Hospitality Minister Prisca Mupfumira Thursday leads a Zimbabwean delegation to a high-profile London investment forum with hopes to convince a largely hesitant foreign investor base to come and set up businesses in the country.
The one-day Indaba, set to be held at London Hilton Canary Wharf in central London, will bring together government officials, key decision makers and potential investors under one roof.
A key event which comes in the wake of renewed economic turbulence in the troubled southern African country, the forum is endorsed by the Zimbabwe Investment and Development Agency.
“Top government officials, industry experts and international leaders will come together in London tomorrow the Nov. 8 for a forum on Zimbabwe’s investment opportunities and, to address the challenges of operating in and entering the African country,” read a press release by the Zimbabwe Investment and Development Agency.
“The event will include ministerial keynotes, an open forum question and answer session with the Zimbabwe Investment and Development Agency, corporate presentations and networking.”
The theme of the top-level indaba is “Unlocking Value Through Fresh Perspectives”.
Among those set to address the meeting are Minister Mupfumira, Kupukile Mlambo (Deputy Governor Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe); Richard Mbaiwa (CEO of Zimbabwe Investment Authority); and P Masvikeni (Operations Director National Oil Infrastructure Company).
Topics to be discussed include, Public Private Partnerships and financing models, reassessing political risk in Zimbabwe, Infrastructure needs for the development of heavy industries, Ease of doing business and Local content and indigenisation.
Based on the choice of topics and those forming the Zimbabwean delegation, it is apparent the Emmerson Mnangagwa administration is keen on renewed ties with foreign investors in a country that has seen its fair share of crises in the past two decades.
Since taking over the country’s leadership a year ago, Mnangagwa has chosen to abandon his predecessor Robert Mugabe’s combative brand of politics largely blamed for the flight of foreign capital in the last 20 years.
Mnangagwa has extended an olive branch to Zimbabwe’s erstwhile but powerful adversaries in EU countries and has had occasion to woo an indifferent American bit in his painstaking reengagement efforts.
The London meeting, to be held some three months since his election as substantive Zimbabwean leader, could go somewhere in convincing some of sceptics within both the Zimbabwean diaspora and foreign component of potential investors.
In the recent past, the country has been buffeted by a cash crisis that has extended to basic commodities among them fuel.
Authorities have moved to allay fears this could be a return to 2008 when Zimbabwe saw record levels of inflation and goods scarcity.
Army killings on six civilians during the August 1 post-electoral violence in Harare had contributed to negative perceptions about Zimbabwe as a safe investment destination.