From Kuda Bwititi in YOKOHAMA, Japan
President Mnangagwa yesterday told the high-level Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD) that his administration is committed to comprehensive economic reforms and making the country a safe destination for investment.
He lauded Japan, saying the world’s third largest economy had a “critical role to play for Africa’s economic transformation, diversification and industrialisation”.
The President made the remarks while addressing a plenary session at the three-day TICAD 7 Summit, which was officially opened yesterday by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
A number of African Heads of State are attending or are highly represented at the summit which seeks to stimulate trade and investment between the continent and Japan.
President Mnangagwa said under his new administration, Zimbabwe is ripe for investment and is pulling all the stops to attract global capital.
“Guided by our Zimbabwe is Open for Business mantra, my administration is determined to continue implementing reforms, aimed at making Zimbabwe a safe, favourable and competitive destination for investment.
“My Government has put in place comprehensive reforms to accelerate the economic development agenda.
“We are promoting private sector-led investment, particularly in agriculture, mining, manufacturing, energy, infrastructure, ICTs and service sectors,” he said.
The President lauded Japan for its inspiring development model characterised by advanced technology, saying Zimbabwe is ready to walk hand-in-glove with Tokyo to take lessons from Japan’s advancement.
“Zimbabwe recognises and applauds the immense strength that Japan continues to have in science, technology innovation and stands ready to enhance cooperation with Japan in these and other spheres.
“Zimbabwe and others within our African continent has vast resources across all sectors and remains ready to increase trade and investment with Japan on mutually beneficial basis,” he said.
The President underscored the significance of TICAD, saying partaking at the high-level meeting primes Zimbabwe to achieve its goals of modernisation and industrialisation to become a middle income economy by 2030.
“Our participation at this important conference reaffirms my Government’s continued commitment to the TICAD process. The private sector is a valued partner in sustainable economic development in our quest to transform, modernise and industrialise our economies,” the President said.
President Mnangagwa informed TICAD delegates of the tangible progress made under the ease of business programme, including remodelling of the Zimbabwe Investment and Development Agency (ZIDA) for a One-Stop-Shop that will enhance convenience for potential investors.
“We have embarked on the ease of doing business reforms, which seek to enhance the country’s investment environment.
“The Zimbabwe Investment and Development Agency (ZIDA) will ensure that all Zimbabwe’s investment information is available and processed under one roof,” President Mnangagwa said.
He also said the jettisoning of the indigenisation and economic empowerment act was a game-changing move by the Government to lure investors.
“Under my administration, Zimbabwe has liberalised our investment conditions, by repealing the indigenisation and economic empowerment act,” he said.
“This now allows for greater adjustment in the private sector participation across all sectors, which should in turn, further accelerate our economic transformation and industrialisation.”
In his opening remarks, Prime Minister Abe, who is co-chair of the summit, pledged to aggressively promote private-sector investment from Japan to Africa.
He said Japan’s private sector invested US$20 billion in Africa over the past three years.
“The Japanese Government will do its best to encourage the private sector so that it will surpass the $20 billion in investment over the past three years.
“I make this pledge to you that Japan’s investment will be surpassed under the New TICAD that we agreed to come up with at the last summit in Nairobi Kenya,” said Prime Minister Abe.
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, as well as African Heads of States also addressed the high level summit that was co-chaired by African Union chairperson and Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.
The TICAD summit is co-organised by the AU, the UN, the World Bank and the United Nations Development Programme.