BULAWAYO, April 28 (The Source) — Macro-economic Planning and Investment Promotion minister Obert Mpofu says Zimbabwe plans to visit BRICS countries to scout for new investment, as well as lobby the Diaspora community to increase its participation in the economy.
Speaking at the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF) business conference, Mpofu said the government would soon visit countries such as Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS).
“Plans are advanced for us to visit BRICS countries to scout for investment and our Diaspora Community. My ministry is working on a comprehensive Diaspora policy to attract Diaspora skills and investments,” Mpofu said.
Key to the efforts was the need to improve Zimbabwe’s image, among the international community, he added.
“Too many negative stories about the investment climate destroy the country’s drive towards attracting investment. We need to improve on economic reporting. Let us make the environment attractive to bring investors to Zimbabwe,” he said.
He said the government was aiming to achieve investments levels of 25 percent of gross domestic production line with objectives set in its economic blueprint, ZimAsset.
Mpofu called on the industry to work with government on special economic zones (SEZs) which he sad could help in reviving industry and help in economic transformation.
According to the 2015 Global Innovation Index ranks Zimbabwe as 133 out of 141 countries with its regional counterparts such as South Africa, Botswana, Mozambique, Swaziland and Zambia ranking 60, 90, 95, 123 and 124 respectively.
Thus Zimbabwe is lowly ranked in terms of innovation in comparison to its regional counterparts.
At the same time, South Africa, Mozambique and Zambia also scored well in terms of foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows according to the 2015 UNCTAD World Investment report, amassing $5,7 billion, $4,9 billion and close to $2,5 billion respectively while Zimbabwe only managed a paltry $545 million, Mpofu said.
The Doing Business Index ranks Botswana (72), South Africa (73), Zambia (97) Swaziland (105) and Mozambique (133) while Zimbabwe is ranked 155 out of 189 countries.
“It is obvious that Zimbabwe is not doing well in comparison with most of its regional counterparts in many of the indicators that investors use to gauge the country’s suitability for investment,” he said.
Speaking at the same occasion, Vice-President Emerson Mnangagwa said there was need for the country to invest in new technology as well as in research and innovation to improve productivity and quality of goods and services.
“This will in turn undoubtedly endear Zimbabweans to locally produced goods and make them competitive on the international market. To this end, government remains committed to assisting industry and business in their efforts to re-tool in order to ensure business viability,” he said.
The fair running under the theme Innovate, Integrate and Industrialise, would be officially opened by Togolese President, Faure Essozimna Gnassingbé on Thursday.