By Bernard Mpofu, HARARE, April 28 (The Source) – Southern African countries are looking to increase foreign direct investment under a long-term strategy anchored on value addition and beneficiation of natural resources set to be adopted by its leaders on Wednesday, a senior government official has said.
The region exports mostly primary goods from finite natural resources and foreign aid, a situation the proposed blueprint is keen to reverse.
“One thing we have to make very clear is that our strategy is not looking for aid. In fact nowhere in our strategy are we looking for aid. We are looking for business,” said Foreign Affairs minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi, who also doubles as SADC council of ministers chairperson, at the post council media briefing.
He said an extraordinary meeting held on Monday had taken on board submissions to push for beneficiation under a long-term plan. SADC leaders are expected to endorse the strategy at the summit on Wednesday.
The strategy had bankable projects in areas such as infrastructure, energy and value addition,” he added.
“In other words, the overwhelming majority of the projects that we envisage in our strategy are bankable projects where investors can see benefits in investing and getting handsome returns on their investment,” Mumbengegwi.
“Of course, there are areas such as social sectors and so on, those areas, the state can look after. But in all the other areas we should be able to get investors—both domestic and foreign. Our starting point is we have resources, we have diverse resources, we have abundant resources and we can use these resources to leverage our strategy.”
If approved, the three-phased industrialisation plan will run from 2015-2063.
SADC executive secretary Stergomena Lawrence said the plan is anchored on three pillars – industrialisation as champion of economic and technological transformation; competiveness as an active process to move from comparative advantage to competitive edges and regional integration.
Zimbabwe has lagged regional peers in attracting FDI due to poor rankings on the ease of doing business and structural issues besetting the economy.
Official figures show that FDIs have been sagging with neighboring Zambia receiving $8 billion in FDI between 1980 and 2013, Mozambique ($16 billion) and Zimbabwe $1,8 billion.