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Mnangagwa's government in SA charm offensive as economy takes tumble





THE Zimbabwean government on Tuesday embarked on a charm offensive to woo investors in South Africa during "Zimbabwe is open for business" summit held in Johannesburg.

Hosted by Zimbabwe's embassy in South Africa, the summit attracted numerous government officials, diplomats, businesspeople, local and international media, and some Zimbabweans based in different parts of South Africa.

Welcoming delegates to the event, Zimbabwe's Ambassador to South Africa David Hamadziripi said his country is on a new trajectory of economic development and equal opportunity.

"Zimbabwe is a rich and enchantingly beautiful country blessed with welcoming, friendly, hardworking, highly skilled, resourceful, and resilient people. Currently, the news about Zimbabwe is dominated by the old, tired, largely depressing narrative about economic challenges and hardships facing this country of immense opportunity," said Hamadziripi.

"Let me tell you some obvious and incontrovertible truths. Zimbabwe will not rise again by being pitied. Zimbabwe will not rise again by being mocked and laughed at. Zimbabwe will rise again through the efforts and contributions of all its people first and foremost. This has already begun."

He said the summit, which was also attended by South African businesspeople working with Zimbabwe, was Harare's effort to woo more international players into the economy which previously endured hyperinflation of biblical proportions.

"Zimbabwe will rise again through the support and contributions of its friends and partners. This is why we are here. We are looking for partners in reviving, reforming, and regenerating our economy," said Hamadziripi.

"What is unfolding in Zimbabwe should encourage [rather] than discourage you because it is part of the process towards redirecting our economy in the path of growth.

"Since coming into office some 10 months ago, our President [Emerson Mnangagwa] has been consistent in words and actions in pronouncing and pursuing policies and measures to create a market-led private sector driven economy in Zimbabwe."

The Zimbabwean ambassador said his government led by Mnangagwa has unveiled a Transitional Stabilisation Programme covering the period from October 2018 to December 2020. Under that programme, Hamadziripi said fiscal, monetary, institutional, governance, and other reforms are being undertaken in Zimbabwe to improve the ease of doing business, to restructure the economy, to guarantee the security of investments, to improve production, and to expand and modernise infrastructure.

"In short, [the] government is committed and determined to make sure that all investments grow in a safe and enabling environment. Our vision is to transform Zimbabwe and have it join the ranks of prosperous, upper-middle-income countries by 2030.

"With our resources, commitment, hard work and your partnerships we can make this happen. I have colleagues who have travelled from Harare who will go into detail on what our country has to offer."

The gathering at Sandton, Johannesburg was aimed at clarifying policies and procedures of investing in Zimbabwe, the investment opportunities available in the small Southern African nation endowed with mineral deposits, processes of repatriation of funds as well as the technical issues of doing business within Special Economic Zones (SEZ) – the incentives, assurances, and tax breaks.

Apart from technocrats from Harare who were making presentations, Hamadziripi was accompanied by his deputy Mietani Chauke and Zimbabwe's Consul General in South Africa Henry Batiraishe Mukonoweshuro.

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