Zimdaba London 2018 concluded yesterday after two days of intense and focused discussions between senior Zimbabwe government representatives and a wide range of investors and business leaders – the first multi-sector international investment forum on Zimbabwe to be held outside Africa since the leadership transition last year.
The conference saw Zimbabwe- and UK-based Consolidated Africa Services (CAS) Ltd bring together Zimbabwean Government ministers, high-ranking civil servants, and investors ranging from small-scale entrepreneurs from the diaspora to global investment groups with multi-billion dollars of funds under management. Also attending were sector leaders in mining, financial services, infrastructure development, and tourism, as well as diplomats and political risk experts.
Sponsors such as Exotix Capital and Great Dyke Investments hosted break-out events for invited guests, and Atlas Mara Chairman Mr Bob Diamond articulated his company’s conviction that Zimbabwe is on the cusp of positive change. Minister of Mining and Natural Resources the Hon. Winston Chitando spoke knowledgeably of the wide range of opportunities that Zimbabwe offers investors – a sophisticated and educated workforce, abundant natural resources supported by an operational infrastructure. Along with his fellow senior Zimbabwean delegates – including the Principal Secretary in the Office of the President Ozias Hove, Deputy Governor of the Reserve Bank Dr K Mlambo and Richard Mbaiwa, CEO of the Zimbabwe Investment Authority – Mr Chitando reinforced President Mnangagwa’s message – ‘Zimbabwe is open for business’ Mr Duncan Wales, CEO of Zimdaba London 2018 sponsor Exotix Capital, said “The success of Zimdaba clearly demonstrates the commitment and optimism that international investors have for Zimbabwe. We are delighted to have been able to contribute to such a positive opportunity for government, businesses and investors to engage on the key issues that will shape Zimbabwe’s future.”
The Zimbabwe government delegation used the conference to present a wide range of policy programs that will transform the business and investment operating environment in Zimbabwe. Legislation for Special Economic Zones, tax holidays for certain classes of investor, and joint venture and public/private partnerships in infrastructure development and other areas are all underpinned by a profound change in the Zimbabwean government’s attitude to, and appetite for, foreign investment.
During the conference lively and candid discussion groups where representatives from mining, agri-business, tourism, financial services and other sectors shared the stage with Zimbabwe government representatives. These public conversations focussed on the role foreign investment will play in realising President Mnangawa’s ambition to ‘make Zimbabwe a middle-income country by 2030.’
Speaking after the over-subscribed conference, CAS Principal Director Nick Holme said “In the past four months we have seen overwhelming interest in Zimbabwe in our network of investors and potential investors. Our objective with Zimdaba London 2018 was to create an enabling space where senior representatives of the new dispensation in Zimbabwe could demonstrate their commitment to the future, and hear the expectations and concerns of every class of potential investor and members of the diaspora. We are very confident that we have achieved that objective.”
CAS will be organising the next major investment conference in Harare, Zimbabwe, in September 2018.