Financially-crippled Zimbabwe yesterday took a big investment step after signing a memorandum of understanding with a South Korean business delegation, which will unlock financing for infrastructure projects.
BY BUSINESS REPORTER
The delegation is based in the United States and had representatives from the Rosenthall Group, Global Trade and Finance Inc and Natrabank of Africa.
They are scouting for investment opportunities in financing, development and construction of infrastructure, agriculture and agribusiness, transport and water, mining, energy, manufacturing and power among others.
The MoU will also culminate in the setting up of a bullion bank, which will use the gold as collateral to help secure funding instead of relying on foreign financial institutions, according to Rosenthall Group chief executive officer and president Robert Rosenthall.
Chief secretary to the President and Cabinet Misheck Sibanda, who signed on behalf of Zimbabwe, said engagements with the delegation have been premised on the need to formulate joint venture approaches to investment that were anchored on “financial engineering leveraging on natural resource endowment and human capital which the country has in abundance”.
“Various areas of cooperation have been reached between Zimbabwean enterprises and institutions represented by the delegation,” he said.
Referring to the interest by the delegation, Sibanda said “this form and magnitude of investment will turn around the fortunes of the country within the next few years”.
“Opportunities are also being pursued under the aegis of the special economic zones, which essentially seek to attract both local and foreign investment under favourable monetary, fiscal and non-fiscal incentives including new clean technologies,” he said.
Natrabank chairperson Celeste de Brito told journalists after the signing ceremony that she would be back in Zimbabwe in a week to set up a bank.
Global Trade and Finance president and CEO Kumja Lee said the delegation was open to all projects in infrastructure, adding that work would commence in 90 days.
The interest by the delegation came at a time when government has undertaken a number of reforms, under the ease of doing business, to lure foreign investors.
Foreign investors continue giving the country a wide berth due to unfavourable policies such as the Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Act.
Government sees the economic blueprint, ZimAsset, as the driver of economic growth.
However, economic analysts say policy inconsistences and corruption were the elephants in the living room of the Zimbabwe’s economy.