1. Does Zimbabwe welcome foreign investors?
Prior to 1990 the economy was closed with a lot of restrictions to investment. Since then a number of measures have been taken to liberalize the economy to the direct benefit of the investors. The relaxation of price controls and restrictions on forex amounted to a gesture of good will for investors. In addition the Zimbabwe Investment Authority was instituted specifically to handle the interests of the foreign investors. The role of the foreign investor cannot be over-emphasized in view of the cross-pollination and complimentarity as new technology is infused from FDI, which is why the inclusive Government has prioritized investment in the economic recovery of the country.
2. Is the land reform exercise really over?
It must be understood that the Land reform is not a once off phenomena or activity but a process that consumes space of time. The acquisition process is by and large over and the current and future process of the land reform will be inevitably be characterized by re-organization phases where and as when necessary for maximum utilization of land.
3. The land reform brought its challenges and opportunities in the skewed distribution of ownership that it meant to correct. Can the responsible authorities assure the investor that investments approved by the Authority are protected?
The constitution of the land read in conjunction with the Zimbabwe Investment Authority Act affords rights to private property and protection of the same. The land re-organization has indeed affected some of the former ZIC & EPZA as well as BIPPA protected investments by foreigners. However efforts are being made to ensure that measures to protect properties covered by BIPPAs are delisted.
4. Zimbabwe has undergone a series of policy changes some of which have had serious repercussion on investment planning, what assurance is there that policy pronouncement will remain consistent in the fairly foreseeable future for investors?
The previous policy pronouncements were made in recognition of the need to correct some deep-seated past anomalies. The current policies are therefore achieving the intended objectives and the current results imply that there may not be any need for new radical policy shift but allow for finer adjustments for the continued stabilization of the macro economic environment. The Inclusive Government has committed itself to creating a conducive investment environment by crafting consistent and predictable policies.
5. The current policy allows 100% ownership in mining activities. New proposal suggest that there will be mandatory participation of indigenous people. In the face of the amounts of capital outlay required in mining ventures and the ability to meaningfully contribute financial capital to the venture in which from precedence they have failed to meet, what measures are being taken to ensure that the idea of warehousing shares for locals is fiduciary supported?
The National Investment Trust which has been mandated to ensure that the unbundling of state owned enterprises benefits the locals who were previously economically disadvantaged has put in place programmes that are meant to support the efforts of the indigenization. The organization venture capital and project financing portfolios which can be accessed as a means to meaningfully contribute in any business activity â€“ Mining included. The Government has also made it clear that while indigenization is essential; it will not be a pre-requisite to investing in the country. Time frames will also be worked taking into consideration the amount of money and nature of investment.
6. Zimbabwe is a member state of the COMESA and other trading blocs such as SADC, EPAS and others in the region. What is the country's position in regard to areas of divergence such as the reserved sector list vis a vis the need to make meet the harmonized nationalities of citizens of member state by 2010?
It is important to note that for any sovereign state to survive it needs to maintain its national pride through certain strategic activities that bestow a sense of belonging to the state. It is therefore understandable that certain areas of divergence will be in evitable as the member states try to be masters of their destiny in respect to strategic resources of national importance to security such as agriculture for instance.
7.The dividend policy is in favour of the foreign investor where one is allowed to remit 100% of profits and or dividends. Zimbabwe is going through tough times in terms of availability of forex forcing deferred remittances or sometimes an overshoot of plough back through recapitalisation beyond thresholds of parameters of legal ownership. What is the redress in terms of the later for foreign investors?
The challenges upon the dividend policy are real and have invoked financial packaging creativity to survive. The authorities are aware of the challenges and consider them as teething problems of an economy in policy transition. The complete liberalization of the exchange regulations is also commitment by Government to let market forces operate for the benefit of investors.