China urges Zimbabwe to improve investment climate

Updated 2017-04-13 10:30:49 Xinhua

Chinese ambassador to Zimbabwe Huang Ping urged Zimbabwe to improve its investment climate to attract more foreign direct investment (FDI).

FDI into Zimbabwe has been low over the years mainly due to poor economic conditions and policy inconsistency. FDI into the country stood at approximately 300 million U.S. dollars in 2016.

While delivering a lecture at Zimbabwe Staff College on Tuesday, Huang said any country wishing to attract foreign investment should have sound laws and regulations to protect investments, state-run news agency New Ziana reported.

"Whoever is ready for cooperation and has the cooperation conditions in place will be among the first for Chinese investors to develop such cooperation with," he said.

"That is why we have been stressing the necessity for the Zimbabwean government to foster a sound and favorable environment for investors to come here and carry out business," he added.

He cited the establishment of the Special Economic Zones (SEZs) as a positive step, which would help attract much needed foreign investment.

Government has so far identified three SEZs - Sunway City in Harare, Bulawayo industrial hub and Victoria Falls financial hub, as part of a raft of measures the government is implementing to lure FDI.

A range of tax incentives will apply in the SEZs, including exempting companies from corporate income tax for the first five years of operation and allowing duty free importation of capital equipment.

Apart from establishing SEZs, Zimbabwe is also in the process of amending various laws that have hindered ease of doing business.

Some of the laws being amended include the Companies Act, Shop licensing Act and the Procurement Act.

The government is also aiming to reduce the days it takes to register a business from 30 days to between 10 and 15 days.

The Chinese ambassador said Zimbabwe should work to attract funding from the 60 billion U.S. dollars that China pledged to push forward China-Africa cooperation at the 2015 Forum on China-Africa Cooperation summit held in South Africa.

Beijing promised the funding in loans and grants to Africa over the next three years. Chinese President Xi Jinping also unveiled a ten-points economic cooperation plan for China and Africa, to be financed by the three-year financing facility.

The plan includes financial support for, among other things, industrial, agricultural and infrastructural development in Africa.

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