Zimbabwe is set for a major economic take-off and will be among the fastest growing economies in the world soon, a visiting investor mission from Britain said yesterday.
The delegation represents 21 organisations. The group met President Mnangagwa and other senior Government officials in Harare yesterday. President Mnangagwa said he was impressed by the size and diversity of the delegation, the first of its kind he had met in a long time.
Speaking to journalists after the meeting, head of delegation Mr Rob Hersov, who is also chairman and chief executive officer of London-headquartered African Capital Investments (ACI), said his team chose to come in early to explore opportunities ahead of an influx of foreign capital in Zimbabwe due to the positive investor sentiment.
The organisations represented in the delegation have interests in energy, mining, infrastructure development, tourism, hospitality and agriculture. The delegation came as a follow-up to an invitation by Foreign Affairs and International Trade Minister Dr Sibusiso Moyo, who attended yesterday’s round table. “The President and his ministers were very open, honest and frank about the situation that Zimbabwe is in right now but also the potential that your country has,” said Mr Hersov.
“We are great believers in the country, the most literate country in Africa, (with) almost every mineral and metal and it has a very diverse and extraordinary investment opportunity,” he said. “So the delegation that came here is quite a big delegation, 22 of us, and there are private investors and also senior decision-makers from very large investment companies. “The opportunity is very broad. There are a number of people here that are in energy, mining, tourism and hospitality, the logistics sector and the agri-sector and Zimbabwe offers opportunities in all of those,” he said.
Mr Hersov said Zimbabwe was poised for massive growth and could be the best in the world.
He said President Mnangagwa’s administration was doing everything to make the country a destination for foreign direct investment.
Mr Hersov did not reveal how much they intended to invest in Zimbabwe, only saying those with interest in energy and infrastructure development were talking “big figures”. He said the delegation would organise another trip to Zimbabwe after elections.
“I think this is the beginning of something big for Zimbabwe. I think Zimbabwe now, with free and fair elections coming up, the President has put his name to it and I am very proud of him for doing that. We think this country has huge upside. It should be one of the fastest growing countries in the world and for a very long time,” added Mr Hersov.
“There are also investors here who are interested in smaller investments – hotel and hospitality, logistics – it is a broad range of things and you know small investments can turn into big businesses,” he said.
“We are very happy to be here. You have a lovely country. We will be back with an even bigger delegation very soon, probably after the elections because you know the country has to focus on the elections now.
“There is a very positive mood among the investors and sometimes it is always better to get in before the rush of money comes so we like to be early.
“Listen, you have very literate and competent people and also there is an extraordinary potential reverse Diaspora of Zimbabweans living in South Africa, rest of Africa and worldwide, who would love to come home and they are being trained in different businesses. They have different skills and opportunities but they all want to come back home,” he said.
President Mnangagwa said he and his team, which included Vice Presidents Constantino Chiwenga and Kembo Mohadi, were very frank with the visiting delegation about the situation in the country.
“I have been informing the delegation that I have been in Government since 1980. It is almost 38 years now. I have never seen such a huge delegation, very diverse, very global, coming together to little Zimbabwe in southern Africa,” he said.
“This is a great moment for this country. We have done everything possible to honestly brief them about our situation.
“The challenges which we face, the weaknesses which we have and the strength we have. I have exposed that to the entire delegation. I hope they will look at it and make their own decisions.”
Also in attendance were Ministers Simon Khaya Moyo (Energy and Power Development), July Moyo (Local Government, Public Works and National Housing), Reserve Bank Governor Dr John Mangudya and other senior Government officials.