The Republic of Zimbabwe is an independent country in Southern Africa, well endowed with mineral, agricultural and other resources, which have created opportunities for the growth of resource-based industrial activities.
The inclusive government has crafted an Economic Revival Framework outlined in a document referred to as Short Term Economic Recovery Programme ("STERP"). This document articulates Zimbabwe's collective vision as the country progresses economically.
The Zimbabwe economy developed from 1950 to 2000 into a highly diversified market based economy.
Contribution to Gross Domestic Product (''GDP'') by Sector in 2007
Agriculture, Manufacturing, Mining, Tourism and Distribution and Finance and Insurance, among others, are the major economic sectors with a contribution of more than 60% to GDP.
The profile of sectoral contribution in former years is a clear indication of the potential for Zimbabwe to become a balanced developing economy again. Manufacturing was prominent, this being predicated upon very deliberate processes' of forward integration from agriculture and mining.
Such integration is supported by a stock of infrastructure which includes a comprehensive road and rail network, an ever increasing national coverage of the electricity distribution network, international air links and a telecommunication sector which need to be extensively refurbished. Further growth potential comes from a sophisticated financial services sector, a growing information technology sector and a tourism sector of unparalleled potential. In essence, all fundamentals point to the next fastest growing economy in Africa if not the world and we invite you to be part of this fiesta of opportunities.
The country has immense growth potential given a huge natural resource base, highly educated and skilled workforce and access to regional markets. The majority of the Zimbabwean labour force is educated to at least 4 years of secondary school. Labour rates are very competitive in comparison with the rest of the world, and due to a high unemployment rate, skilled, semi-skilled and unskilled labour is readily available. The majority of the labour force is English speaking.
Recently, the country discovered huge deposits of platinum and diamonds. Platinum mining and processing will add to an already vibrant mining sector which will become a major contributor to GDP. The country is endowed with a wide range of mineral resources: gold, diamonds, nickel, iron ore, copper and coal bed methane. Coal bed methane is the largest known reserve in Sub Saharan Africa. At current extraction levels the country can continue mining coal for the next 5 500 years (Southern African Development Community
(?SADC?) trade industry and Investment review -2007/2008).
Over the last twenty years, the Zimbabwean government has enacted laws which provide investors with a conducive business environment. This is notwithstanding the last five years (2004-2009) when foreign currency shortages caused businesses to rely on exports to fund their operations and land reform caused some anxieties in the investment community.
Inflation used to be the main threat to a potentially vibrant economy and has been well publicised in recent years with inflation reaching 231 million percent as per last official estimate. This created a very difficult climate in which to do business. However, currently Zimbabwe has the lowest rate of inflation in US$
The collective wisdom of the inclusive government now in place is witnessed in the introduction of the multi-currency system credited with reducing Zimbabwean inflation from the estimated 231 million percent in December 2008 to 3.5% per annum as at 30 June 2009. This has happened since the liberalisation of the exchange control regime and the use of multi-currencies such are the United States Dollar ("US$") and the South African Rand ("ZAR") to transact business in February 2009. The use of these hard currencies has renewed the focus of business on producing value and getting due reward for it.? Some progressive trading concerns have offered twenty-four hour service to take advantage of the improving business environment.
Exchange control regulations have been relaxed? to allow for repatriation of foreign' funds invested and profits earned in Zimbabwe without any restrictions. Immigration laws ensure that qualifying investors get to stay in Zimbabwe and conduct their business freely. A highly sophisticated urban life provides a home away from home for foreign investors with social amenitie which meet international standards. The opportunities of coming up with a highly trained human resource base is well supported by a 97% literacy rate, a very diversified and high density tertiary education sector and a hos of other ancillary technical training and research institutions.? Zimbabwe boasts of highly proficient human resources at all levels. Years of working in a sophisticated economy has created an experienced, educated and highly adaptable labour force. Evidence of this capability is demonstrated by the millions of employable Zimbabweans doing very well in the diaspor (the Zimbabwean population overseas). Above all, investors will find
Zimbabweans generally a friendly and welcoming people, simply because of? the traditions and norms of our society.
The country has extensive road and rail links on 1067mm gauge (54kg per metre according to UICE Class B) to all major cities and neighbouring countries, and there are 3 international airports in Harare, Bulawayo and Victoria Falls. Zimbabwe is currently in the process of upgrading its electricity generation and telecommunications sector in preparation of the anticipated growth. Opportunities for investors within these sectors are outlined in sectoral analysis. The Government has put in place investment and trade facilitation institutions that exist to provide comprehensive direction to foreign investor choosing to locate in Zimbabwe. The Zimbabwe Investment Authority ("ZIA"), the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority ("ZTA"), and Zimtrade are all one-stop shops designed to make any business person feel at home. These institutions are the interface between government and the investing public.