Is Zimbabwe open for business, for investment in Zimbabwe
Pic: BBC

There were some who had genuinely believed that Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa was a changed man, that he was willing to embrace reform and dissociate himself from Robert Mugabe. But with how his contested presidency has begun, all of this has been seriously jeorpadised.

Many had always warned that Mnangagwa was still the same old crocodile – cunning, ruthless, never hesitant to employ force and repression when needed. The electoral protests that saw 6 people (according to official figures) being killed, his legitimacy is now enshrouded in obscurity. And for business, there could be various interpretations to this.

The election had largely been peaceful, although there were reports of voter intimidation especially in rural areas, but the brutal clampdown by the military on opposition supporters has put a dent to this. The election has been marred by ballot disputes, “fake results”, and a compromised Zimbabwe Electoral Commission(ZEC).

Will Mnangagwa’s “open for business” mantra still hold validity to potential investors after all this chaos? With an economy literally on its knees in every respect, Mnangagwa will need to start from scratch, rebuilding his reputation as a reformist, a big lie he had managed to sell to the world.

But is seems Mnangagwa’s business message does not bear any resonance with the locals. There is no clear policy framework on the business needs of the locals and for local investment. Nothing for us. He is aiming for the foreigners. But what about us?

With such a poor track record on human rights abuses resurfacing again, some investors may be dissuaded from coming to Zimbabwe. ZANU-PF’s and the military’s lack of respect for property rights manifested in these past days is testimony of the risk that Zimbabwe carries when it comes to investment.

Over the next 5 years, the government is targeting an annual economic growth rate of at least 6%, while attracting $5 billion in foreign direct investment and $10 billion in domestic investment a year. But will this materialize? With the corrupt nature of a ZANU-PF led government…

Since November 2017, ZANU-PF is finding it extremely hard to solve the cash crisis. It still remains one of the largest impediments to attracting investment.

Others think with time, the dissatisfaction and discontent in the country will die down and Mnangagwa will work his way out very well.


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