ZIMBABWE has scored major successes in the past four months, attracting investment commitments worth more than $11 billion largely due to the new dispensation’s emphasis on openness, honesty, hard work and complete departure from the scorched earth policies of the previous administration.
President Mnangagwa recently said Zimbabwe’s more than two decades-long quarrel with the United Kingdom was over — a major diplomatic coup as this puts the country in good stead in its relations with not only Britain, but the rest of the Western world.
Confidence is everything in business and sentiment across the world at the moment is that Zimbabwe is open for business and the new broom sweeping the old relics from the country’s cupboards is doing a sterling job and has in a short time brought back policy clarity and stability that was lacking in the past.
Foreign investors are flocking to Zimbabwe in droves and are keen to be part of the renaissance that will take place as the economy rises like a phoenix from the proverbial ashes.
There is positive energy everywhere and a feeling that something unprecedented is about to happen.
Indeed, the rest of sadc, Africa and the world are aware of the immense potential the country has and what was needed was the political will to turn around the fortunes of the country.
President Mnangagwa and his team have, since November last year, provided that strong leadership needed to put the basic fundamentals in place for the country to take off.
It has not been business as usual with ministers given 100-day timelines to achieve certain targets most of which they have managed to do.They worked around the clock to achieve the set targets, which have now laid a firm foundation for the success of economic, political and social programmes Government wants to achieve.
Vice President General Constantino Chiwenga (Retired) told delegates during the 12th edition of the International Business Conference at the just-ended Zimbabwe International Trade Fair that the first 100 days of the new dispensation were a resounding success with an average performance rate of 86 percent.
The emphasis has been on ensuring that impediments to the ease of doing business are removed so that investors are not given the run around whenever they land on our shores.
To a large extent, this is work in progress, with President Mnangagwa even bringing Rwandan experts to school our bureaucrats on how to cut the red tape and expedite the investment process.
VP Chiwenga said a lot was achieved in the first 100 days and in keeping with the new administration’s desire for openness, the nation would be apprised shortly of the achievements.
“The first 100-day programme ended on 10 April and the OPC are already compiling (reports) on what was achieved and what was not achieved,” he said.
“But what I want to tell you is that we achieved more than expected. On average, it was 86 percent, in some areas it was 100 percent and everything which was done, was done together with the private sector.
“As I am talking now, we are busy working for the next 100 days because the first 100 days was a great success.”
Some of the notable achievements under the 100-day programme include the resumption of the re-engagement process with the West and addressing a previously poisoned investment climate.
As part of addressing the investment climate, Government has amended the Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Act, which sought to have locals holding 51 percent stakes in all projects.
It has now reserved the 51 percent ownership structure to diamonds and platinum, while other sectors such as gold mining can be owned 100 percent by foreigners.
Foreign investors can, however, own 100 percent of investments in value addition and beneficiation of diamonds and platinum.
Processing investment applications now takes place within five days from 14 days.
On the other hand, Government has slashed excise duty on fuel by about 6c to reduce its overall price on the pump, and for this to cascade to manufacturers and retailers so that they reduce prices of goods although this has been partially done by the retailers.
The just ended ZITF is another classic example of the immense gains that have been made in the first four months of the new administration.
There has been a surge in exhibitor numbers, with 40 percent more exhibitors having booked space compared to last year.
There were 495 direct exhibitors on the first day of the fair, a slight improvement from last year’s closing figure of 356.
This alone points to a renewed interest in Zimbabwe and we are hopeful tangible deals will be clinched during this year’s edition.
In a nutshell, the new administration deserves some plaudits for the manner in which it has managed to instil a culture of hard work and lay a firm foundation for economic growth.