Invest in Agric, ED Challenges Old Mutual

President Mnangagwa yesterday challenged Old Mutual Limited to consider investing in the country’s agricultural sector and help fund commercial infrastructure in line with global trends and development. Since his inauguration in November last year, President Mnangagwa has given the economy — lagging behind in sectors such as agriculture, mining, infrastructure development, service provision and finance — top priority.

His administration adopted Zimbabwe is open for business mantra to lure foreign direct investment to drive Zimbabwe’s economic renaissance.

Officiating at the Old Mutual Limited Anchoring in Africa Zimbabwe Gala dinner yesterday, President Mnangagwa challenged the country’s largest insurance company “to consider investing in agriculture under the Command Agriculture Programme as well as pursuing other investments that will quicken the resuscitation of our horticulture industry.”

While acknowledging Old Mutual’s role in partnering Government in response to the national housing backlog, as well as decent and convenient trading spaces throughout the country, President Mngangagwa called on the company to take leadership in the country’s renewed thrust to increase and modernise its infrastructure.

“As Old Mutual, you have a crucial role to harness your global spread and influence to help leapfrog both our domestic and commercial infrastructure in line with the current global trends and developments,” said President Mnangagwa.

He applauded the company for its long track record of partnering Government and its people on the socio-economic front.

“These range from energy and power generation, to SME financing; agriculture funding of small scale banana growers and sugar cane farmers.

“Such initiatives are applauded and help provide security to families and earn the country the much-needed foreign currency through export of their produce.”

He also called on Old Mutual to broaden its breadth and depth in financing the empowerment initiatives of women, youth and SMEs.

“The importance of a well-structured SME sector in stimulating economic growth and reducing poverty cannot be over-emphasised,” he said.

President Mnangagwa said banks and other financial institutions must play their role to ensure rapid economic growth.

“As our economy grows and becomes more sophisticated, the financial sector and private sector in general must march in sync with all other sectors,” he said.

Speaking at the Zimbabwe-China Business Forum in Harare early this month, President Mnangagwa invited financial players to offer appropriate solutions critical to spur economic growth.

He told the forum that the economy had suffered from limited affordable long-term financing and credit lines.

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