Mugabe in SA to lure investments into Zimbabwe
by SAVIOUS KWINIKA
PRETORIA, (CAJ News) – ZIMBABWEAN President Robert Mugabe is on a three-day state visit to neighbouring South Africa to lure investors to resuscitate his country’s bleeding economy.
Mugabe’s visit barely comes six months his ministerial delegation failed to convince the same investors in November in order to come and start business in Zimbabwe citing the prohibitive 51 per cent indigenous policy.
Speaking ahead of the joint Business Forum, scheduled for Thursday in Pretoria, Mugabe urged South African companies, particularly in the areas of mining, agriculture and manufacturing to explore business ventures or individually invest in Zimbabwe.
“We have abundant of natural resources – God given resources that could be mined. We would want investors to come as partners, exploit our resources, but at the same time, we say we would want 51 per cent of our shares, a lion’s share, not a baboon’s share,” said Mugabe jovially.
Apart from enticing investors from the neighbouring country, Mugabe said the two leaders had also looked into the trade imbalance between the two countries, which favours South Africa.
Presently, the trade between the two sees South Africa generating more than $2 billion while the northern neighbour only managed $700 million last year.
“While trade would not be equal, we would want fair business trade practice between the two countries. The trade will never be equal because South Africa is bigger than Zimbabwe with huge population as compared to our 14 million,” Mugabe said.
President Zuma said he invited Mugabe so that they explore areas of cooperation in the fields of Bi-National Commission, Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), Diplomatic Consultations, Mutual Assistance between Customs Administrations as well as joint water commissions.
“Our deliberations of today, put great emphasis on the importance of signing the agreement on the establishment of the Bi-National Commission, whose objective is to take our relations (between Zim and SA) to a higher level and to be led by the Heads of State of our respective countries.
“South Africa and Zimbabwe not only share strong historical relations, but also strong economic cooperation to the extend that the economies of the two countries are historically and inextricably linked,” said Zuma.
He said Zimbabwe was one of Africa’s top three trading partners saying business between the two countries should be enhanced.
Both presidents had ministers to sign for the agreed areas of business partnerships.
Since the formalisation of relations between South Africa and Zimbabwe in 1994, the two countries have enjoyed cordial bilateral relations under the structured mechanisms of the Joint Commission for Cooperation (JCC) and Joint Permanent Commission on Defence and Security (JPCDS).
These have facilitated consultations and official engagements between the two countries and provided platforms from which issues of mutual interest could be raised and discussed.
The two countries signed three bilateral agreements and two Memorandum of Understanding on Diplomatic Consultations, Agreement on Cooperation on Water Resources Management, Agreement Regarding Mutual Assistance between Customs Administrations and Memorandum of Understanding on Trade Co-operation
“Historically, Zimbabwe is always among the top three South Africa’s trading partners on the continent. South Africa is one of the top investors in the Zimbabwean economy,” Zuma said.
The visit by Mugabe follows a tour by his Ministerial delegation to South Africa sometime in November 2014 where it sought to entice local funders to invest in Zimbabwe’s fragile economy.
Local business however cited the neighbouring country’s indigenisation policies as a hindrance.
The policy compels foreigners wishing to invest in Zimbabwe to surrender 51 per cent of their shares to the local indigenous persons while investors only enjoy a mere 49 per cent of their investments.
Zimbabwe is presently experiencing tough economic conditions worsened by sanctions imposed by the West for alleged farm invasions and human rights violations.
Mugabe defended the programme to take white owned farms without compensation.
“Initially, we had agreed that Britain pays for the farm compensation but later on refused. We therefore took what was ours,” said Mugabe.
– CAJ News
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