BULAWAYO — The Zimbabwe Investment Authority (ZIA) has partnered local authorities across the country in an attempt to lure investment into the country.
ZIA chairman, Nigel Chanakira said Zimbabwe has in the past been bureaucratic in facilitating investment opportunities, while the rest of the world had progressed in this regard.
By partnering with local authorities, ZIA hopes to decentralise the promotion of investment.
“So, clearly, we want to decentralise the promotion of investment,” said Chanakira.
“We have to start thinking outside the box, think creatively with a new normal,” he said, adding that ZIA was looking at local authorities jointly participating in attracting investors into their cities and towns.
The partnership envisages developing investment promotion capacity in local authorities, assisting in arranging promotional events and producing materials, documenting investment opportunities, commencing work on investment portals and commencing work on ranking criterion for ease of doing business measures in all local authorities.
“Our exposure visits to places like Dubai and China have revealed that there are investment opportunities for people who have done what we are trying to do and done it at an excellent level.
“For example, Dubai is a classic shopping destination but it is in a desert. Without a shadow of doubt Victoria Falls must have a mall; it is imperative and we need strategic planning. We need foreign international boutiques,” said Chanakira.
Last year alone ZIA received US$3,2 billion worth of investment applications and the conversion rate in terms of investment inflows for the past three years has been very low.
Over 90 business delegations also visited Zimbabwe last year seeking investment opportunities.
The roping in of local authorities this year would help municipalities and rural district councils promote opportunities in their areas while also accelerating the process of bringing investors into the country.
It was regrettable that some municipalities did not have investment promotion officers or master plans, while Harare and Bulawayo’s investment plans still required fine tuning to world class standards, Chanakira observed.
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