Pretoria – South African businesses have a crucial role to play in revitalising the Zimbabwean economy, says Trade and Industry Deputy Minister Mzwandile Masina.
Speaking at a business seminar organised by the Department of Trade and Industry in Gweru, Zimbabwe, the Deputy Minister said South African businesses can contribute to growing trade volumes and bringing investments into Zimbabwe.
“I am of the view that the South African businesspeople on this mission have a crucial role to play in growing not only our trade volumes but also investments into Zimbabwe that would yield a multiplier effect as it relates to job creation, poverty alleviation and ultimately economic emancipation of our people,” said the Deputy Minister on Wednesday.
He said a number of South African companies are already investing in Zimbabwe, principally in the mining, tourism, agriculture, banking and retail sectors.
The Deputy Minister is currently leading an Investment and Trade Initiative (ITI) to Harare, Gweru and Bulawayo. The ITI started on Monday.
The business seminar forms part of the ITI themed “Strengthening business linkages between South Africa and Zimbabwe”. Deputy Minister Masina said South Africa invested R20 billion in the Zimbabwean mining, agriculture, banking and retail sectors between 2003 and 2015.
“There are still many opportunities presenting themselves in various sectors that businesspeople from the two countries can collaborate in exploring. These include infrastructure, agro-processing, mineral beneficiation and the healthcare sectors.
“For instance, Tongaat-Hullet will be investing an estimated US$8.85 million in the agro-processing sector in Zimbabwe, while Panasonic and Nucoal will invest US$1.2 million in advanced manufacturing and US$521 million in coal, oil and gas sectors, respectively,” said Deputy Minister Masina.
He said engagements between South Africa and Zimbabwe were aimed at value-addition and assisting Zimbabwe in building value chains that are critical in ensuring sustained economic growth in the country.
“As South Africa, we pledge our commitment to support Zimbabwe as they realise the objectives they set for themselves in their development economic blueprint called the Zimbabwe’s Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation (ZIM-ASSET).
“Our developmental agendas are intertwined as our own National Development Plan speaks of the same things that ZIM-ASSET speaks of. These are poverty, eradication, value-addition and beneficiation, and food security amongst others,” he said.