Zimbabwe: Mnangagwa vows to open up borders for new investment
Zimbabwe’s new President Emmerson Mnangagwa announced on Wednesday the country will unveil a “robust” re-engagement policy to attract foreign investment.
In his first State of the Nation address since taking over from Robert Mugabe last month, Mr Mnangagwa reiterated his inauguration speech saying his government will do everything in its power to revive the nation after years of isolation.
Mnangagwa’s speech came a few days ahead of his first official trip abroad to South Africa, where he is expected to address the business industry and investors on Thursday.
“My government is committed to open Zimbabwe up to investment by building a free, and transparent economy which benefits Zimbabweans and is welcoming to outsiders,” Mr Mnangagwa said.
Mr Mnangagwa also spoke on corruption saying it’s a major source in driving the Zimbabwe’s economy to the ground.
“My government will have a zero tolerance towards corruption,” he said. “Economic developments require a clean government.”
He added that the southern-African nation’s strict visa system will be also be overhauled to attract new business.
But at the time of his address, business confidence in Zimbabwe remained at an all-time low, but expectations for 2018 look to improve.
“Expectations for the fourth quarter of 2017 are that there would be little or no change from the third quarter,” said Sifelani Jabangwe, president of Zimbabwe’s primary organisation for industry - CZI.
But expectations for the fourth quarter of 2018 is predicted to improve according to Mr Jabangwe - as the business sector is largely driven by the hope that Mr Mnangagwa's new policies will have taken effect by then.
Mr Jabangwe added that President Mnangagwa must work quickly to implement his government’s new policies to drive the growth and recovery of the once prosperous economy.
“Any delay will place a dent on the confidence that is already building up in Zimbabwe,” he said.
Under Mugabe’s longtime rule, Zimbabwe suffered from sanctions imposed by the United States and others over alleged human rights abuses.
On Zimbabwe’s presidential elections next year, Mr Mnangagwa said in his address that the vote will be “credible, free and fair” - which the international community considers a key step in reforms.