Zimbabwe welcomes more Chinese investment: minister
Zimbabwe has primed itself to attract more foreign direct investment from China, after implementing robust economic reforms over the past few years, Zimbabwean Information Minister Monica Mutsvangwa said Thursday.
She told Xinhua that under the leadership of President Emmerson Mnangagwa, the Zimbabwean government had implemented various reforms to improve the investment climate.
The country also boasted of rich agricultural, mining and tourist resources, in addition to possessing an educated and disciplined workforce, she said.
"A strong governance system has ensured sustained political stability. Under President Mnangagwa, financial reforms have engendered stability, investment incentives are being enacted," she said.
"Most importantly, bureaucracy and red tape are being done away with. Recently he (Mnangagwa) launched the One-Stop Zimbabwe Investment Development Authority to expedite business decisions and speed up the commitment of investment funds. This will be a boon to both the Chinese risky capital and huge consumption markets," the minister said.
She said Zimbabwe was strategically positioned in the recently launched African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) and noted that Chinese investors should seize the opportunity to increase investment in the southern African country.
"A new and exciting chapter is the prospect of engagement by the Chinese private sector. Under the mantra 'Zimbabwe Is Open for Business', more FDI is anticipated from the new and growing business class of China and its crop of global billionaires," she said.
"Zimbabwe is best placed in the new Africa Free Trade Zone. It is determined to offer itself as the FDI destination of choice to Chinese entrepreneurs," Mutsvangwa said.
China had already cemented its ranking as the top investor in Zimbabwe's tobacco sector, where it has invested millions of U.S. dollars over the past decade, she said.
"The economic cooperation saw China Tobacco invest in the revival and expansion of the 1.6 billion U.S. dollars annual turnover leaf tobacco production," she said.
"Each year since 2005, Zimbabwe has benefited in this domain to the delight of many small and medium tobacco farmers. This is courtesy of the contract tobacco farming which established a direct link between the grower and the investor," Mutsvangwa said.
After plunging to a low of 48 million kg of tobacco leaf in 2008, Zimbabwe's tobacco output rose to a record 238 million kg in 2019, mainly through support and investment from China.
Mutsvangwa observed that China had also steadily invested in Zimbabwe's energy sector over the years, pouring nearly 2 billion U.S. dollars to expand the country's two major power plants, Hwange Thermal Power Station and Kariba South Power Station by a combined 950 MW.
While the 300 MW Kariba power station expansion project was completed in 2018, the expansion of Hwange by 650 MW is still ongoing and scheduled to be completed next year.