There are opportunities everywhere in Zim, says US trade mission, but..!
HARARE – A visiting American business group, the Corporate Council on Africa (CCA) said on Friday Zimbabwe had a favorable investment climate and U.S companies are willing to invest in the country except that the country has a complicated legislative framework and is not predictable on policy.
The CCA is a membership-based organization which was established in 1993 to promote business and investment between the United States and African countries.
It is touted as the premier American organization devoted to U.S.-Africa business relations and has a membership of more than 180 companies.
Addressing a press conference, CCA head of delegation Philip de Leon said despite political differences between the two countries, trade and investment opportunities existed.
“Our assessment is that Zimbabwe is open for business; there are business opportunities everywhere, now the real work starts, meaning we need to do follow ups. I would say my opinion is positive. I will go back home to my colleagues and report that I have a good feeling and that I met people who are willing to work with us. It will all be in the implementation. The ball is partly in Zimbabwe’s court to make things happen, however my perception at this stage is very positive,” he said.
The head of delegation said potential hurdles to trade between Zimbabwe and the US include the legislative framework and access to capital
“Access to capital is a key issue as we need to decide whether the financing will come from Zimbabwe or from abroad. Other hindrances include rule of law and predictability. We need to have a clear understanding of the legal environment. We have had numerous discussions on the indigenisation rule, we have got some clarification which can help us better understand the situation,” he said.
De Leon said the sour political relations between Zimbabwe and USA would not dampen the business co-operation between the two countries.
“We try to stay to away from politics, we are here to talk about trade, and my experience is that politicians come and go but business people stay. We have established relationships at a personal level, we met a lot of people we have engaged personally, and those are the people we will stay in touch with. We are also here to talk about what is needed in Zimbabwe because we can bring solutions,” he said.
He said one such solution could be helping Zimbabwe increase its exports by improving production.
“Investment in the country will be dependent on how much volumes we can bring into Zimbabwe. We are interested in investing in various sectors which include trade, finance agriculture and mining. However, we also have a desire to increase exports out of Zimbabwe; we have conveyed some of the solutions of the companies we are representing, that are offering a way to improve production in Zimbabwe, enabling the country to increase exports,” he said.
De Leon said Zimbabwe showed more enthusiasm as compared to Zambia which the trade delegation also visited.
The enthusiasm in Zimbabwe was greater. Zambia has grown in confidence to a certain extent, but Zimbabwe knows that it needs to wake up and we have seen a lot of enthusiasm. We follow the Warren Buffet principle of investing only in what you understand. So far, we quite understand the situation,” he said.
De Leon said recommendations from the visit would be forwarded to the President’s Advisory Council on Doing Business in Africa.
The visit was organized by the Corporate Council on Africa which comprises 180 companies 20% of which are from Africa.