Zimbabwe woos Chinese investors, moves to improve ease-of-doing-business

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Zimbabwe has called on Chinese and international investors to invest in the country as it is undertaking ease-of-doing-business reforms to make the country attractive to foreign investment, a senior official has said.

Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko made the remarks at the ongoing 19th China International Fair for Investment and Trade, which opened Thursday in Xiamen City, southeast China’s Fujian Province.

Mphoko is leading a high-level delegation comprising senior officials and small to medium scale enterprises representatives there.

“My country Zimbabwe has opportunities in agriculture, mining, tourism, and infrastructure development that we are ready to discuss with interested investors,” the vice president was quoted as saying by the state-run Herald newspaper Friday.

While China is one of the few countries bankrolling infrastructure development projects running into billions of dollars after the West imposed sanctions on Zimbabwe, foreign investment into the southern African country has been significantly lower in recent years, averaging around 400 million U.S. dollars per year.

Zimbabwe is currently ranked 155 out of 189 countries in the World Bank ease-of-doing-business index for 2015 and has, with technical support from the World Bank, stepped up reform efforts in the last months to improve the investment climate and boost foreign investment.

The VP said Zimbabwe was ready to engage Chinese companies on a win-win basis in value addition projects.

He also thanked China’s National Development and Reform Commission for its support towards the revitalization of Zimbabwe’s production capacity under a framework signed last year.

Zimbabwe, he said, stood ready to work with Chinese firms in production sectors including special economic zones and industrial parks that Zimbabwe intends to set up in order to boost industrialization in the country.

Trade Minister Mike Bimha said Zimbabwe was keen to attract more foreign direct investment and technology transfer from China.

“As the second largest economy in the world, China is well placed to contribute to the industrialization and development of Zimbabwe,” he said.

Chinese companies could partner Zimbabwe in implementing its five-year economic blueprint ending in 2018 through investment in various projects, the minister added.

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