India has expressed readiness to do business with Zimbabwe and its corporates yesterday pledged to invest and partner local companies in different sectors of the economy.
A 20-member business delegation from India is in Bulawayo attending the on-going Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI) annual congress and international investment forum, taking advantage of the drive by the new Government to transform the economy under the “Zimbabwe is open for business” mantra.
The three-day business event, which is running under the theme, “From Dialogue to Implementation-It’s Time to Act,” began yesterday. In separate presentations at the forum, representatives of different companies from India expressed willingness to invest in various sectors of the country’s economy.
“We are here (CZI congress and international investment forum) to do business not tourism (as tourists) as the President of Zimbabwe has said that ‘Zimbabwe is open for business’.
“We, therefore, want to help the Government fulfil its vision of becoming a middle income economy by 2030,” said one of the delegates who was representing Shapoorji Pallonji Group, one of India’s leading conglomerate firms with diversified business in engineering, construction and infrastructure.
President Mnangagwa’s administration has declared that Zimbabwe is open for business with the rest of the world with a view of transforming the economy through industrialisation and job creation after close to two decades of international isolation.
Head of the India business delegation at the event, Mr Rajshekhar Ray, said: “One of the possible areas of investment we are looking at is the Small to Medium Enterprises (SMEs) sector in Zimbabwe because that’s where we see the maximum growth of the economy coming from.”
Government has also recognised the role played by the SMEs sector towards contribution to the Gross Domestic Product, particularly at a time when the country’s economy is skewed towards the informal sector.
“We have got companies that are coming from the manufacturing sector, ICT (Information Communication Technology), engineering, energy and biotechnology sector, pharmaceutical industry and agriculture willing to invest in Zimbabwe. We also have a solar panel manufacturer who is looking into maybe investing in Zimbabwe,” said Mr Ray.
Without doubt, he said, Zimbabwe is open to do business with the rest of the world as this had been shown by the recent re-engagement efforts by Government. Mr Ray said India has in the past shown significant progress in areas such as ICT, health care and pharmaceutical industry and thus they also wanted to share their experiences with Zimbabwe.
“We have always believed that Zimbabwe has got the best talent on the continent in terms of the education standards . . . we just feel that in the past, Zimbabwe has not moved forward, it’s not because they didn’t have the capability and resources, it’s just that they need right guidance and direction,” he said.
India Ambassador to Zimbabwe Mr Rungsung Masakui said by bringing investors his country was trying to create business linkages and areas of possible investment and trade partnerships.
“It’s also important to have the companies from India coming here (Bulawayo), once the town of industrial activities in Zimbabwe, which we seriously and honestly believe can be revived very soon with the policies of the new dispensation under the leadership of President Mnangagwa.
“He has vehemently declared that Zimbabwe is open for business and making all the efforts to reach out to the international community including India to come and do business in Zimbabwe,” he said.
CZI president Mr Sifelani Jabangwe said this year’s congress was focused on implementation of strategic measures to reignite the economy.
“That’s why we are focusing on implementation with the theme, ‘From Rhetoric, Its Time to Act’ to make Zimbabwe a middle income economy by 2030.
So, we are using the vision that has been articulated by President Mnangagwa that Zimbabwe can be a middle income economy by 2030.
“We believe that this can be achieved through industrialisation and we need to come up with a national industrialisation framework, which we will use to move from where we are now to where we need to be,” he said.
Mr Jabangwe noted that over the years, the country has pronounced a lot of economic blue-prints such as Zim-Asset but failed to meet the economic growth projections because of lack of implementation.
“This time around, for the vision 2030 to make sure that we implement the national industrialisation framework, it must include all stakeholders,” he said. — @okazunga.