Zimbabwe’s FDI Syndrome

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President Mnangagwa and President Xi Jinping in China
President Mnangagwa and President Xi Jinping in China

By Patrick Phillip Mugadza.

THE last farewell years of Robert Mugabe was so hype with MOUs (Memorandum of Understanding) which were meant to be translated into meaningful FDIs which never were. It has been Asante Sana into the new and not so new dispensation which has turned into new deception.

We have been told up to date there has been over 7 billion worth of investment into the country, but nothing is changing on the ground. We may not see any change taking place soon, as all the investors are very sceptical about the forth coming highly contested harmonized election. It is a let us wait and see kind of scenario.

All this is besides my point which I know will be a big shock to many of us. We have suffered for far too long as a nation because of misuse of national resources. If the 15 billion dollars corruption case is anything to go by then we should know that we are well capable of funding ourselves. What if the money had been handled well, how far could we have been? This takes me back to the times of UDI (Unilateral Declaration of Independence) when Smith was under sanctions.

The nation was moving on as if nothing was happening, as they knew how to manoeuvre but more, so it was because the resource base was sufficient enough to support the nation. Indeed, the regime back then had to be exporting their goods through the back door by using South Africa and it kept them going. They even left surplus forex when R.G. Mugabe took over. Yes, the fact that the majority of the black people were not covered much in the policy cannot be disputed.

My point still remains to say if we have gone through all this time with no meaningful Foreign Direct Investment, then we can give ourselves a target to say let us capacitate ourselves as a nation by way of having capable people leading us in terms of non-tolerance to corruption, so that we work on companies which we know if they are funded well they will be able to quickly boost our national capita.

One of my serious concerns when it comes Foreign Direct Investment is that it fuels corruption especially the way things are right now in our country. We now have corruption as a way of life and a culture which is well received by many of our people. We are having a queue as being reported of investors wanting to come to Zimbabwe so money will change hands so they can get lucrative deals. They also are very much aware of what Zimbabwe has in terms of natural and human resources.

Will we be able to know who is who in terms of genuine investors?

That is a big NO.

This “investor rush” we should be so careful about, as many will be coming to loot from us.

Two things will happen while many of us are asleep. People being paid to get the best and paying investment deals and some being paid to let the investors take out even that which they should not. We need by all means to make sure we have measures in place of getting to know who is who before we engage the foreign companies.

Issue of value addition is of so much importance in the whole process. Whoever wants to invest should make a commitment to build infrastructure which is meant to add value to their products before they leave our borders. This is not going to be possible as long as people are in a race to impress the electorate. This is I believe is one of the reasons why naturally they are failing in that respect as God knows what is best for us as a nation.

Indeed, a turnaround is so much required, but we do not need to go ahead of ourselves. Better we arrive there slowly but surely, than rushing and then crush. We need to take our time and put our policies together which are nation centred and not election centred. We are well able to capacitate ourselves it is just a matter of time. Foreigners should not be in charge, we have to be so that we will be able to leave our God given riches to our posterity.

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