Golden Sibanda in Dubai, UAE
Zimbabwe plans to take advantage of its participation in the ongoing Expo 2020 Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates, to secure markets for its non-genetically modified agriculture produce, Permanent Secretary for Industry and Commerce Dr Mavis Sibanda has said.
Dr Sibanda, is part of the delegation led by Vice President Constantino Chiwenga, who arrived in Dubai yesterday afternoon.
Apart from export markets for non-GMO produce, Zimbabwe also seeks to secure investments, partnerships and links during the expo, with a view to boosting the economy in line with Vision 2030 of creating an empowered upper middle income economy.
Expo 2020 Dubai, said Dr Sibanda, was critical to Zimbabwe’s aspirations, which it has demonstrated through the participation of Vice President Chiwenga at the Global Business Forum Africa that runs on Wednesday and Thursday this week.
The forum is focused on exploring opportunities in Africa and challenges of investing on the continent.
Said Dr Sibanda: “We are here in Dubai for this Global Business Forum Africa, which is very important to us as Zimbabwe.
“We take this conference as a platform where we can share our ideas with the international world. We are looking at getting some investors at this conference as well as markets to export our products to the Middle East and beyond.
“We think this conference is good and important, so important that it is being led by our Honourable Vice President. The idea is for us to get investment into Zimbabwe.”
The Zimbabwean delegation to the forum comprises Finance and Economic Development Minister Professor Mthuli Ncube, Mines and Mining Development Minister Winston Chitando, Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality Industry Minister Mangaliso Ndlovu, Industry and Commerce Minister Dr Sekai Nzenza, and Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development Minister Dr Anxious Masuka.
It also includes private sector representation through the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries and the Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce.
State investment promotion entities, the Zimbabwe Investment Development Agency and Industrial Development Corporation, are also part of Vice President Chiwenga’s delegation to the forum.
“Companies that have come here have come to connect because we are in a global village, and this will give them an opportunity of discussing with potential investors on the sidelines, potential importers of our products,” said Dr Sibanda.
“As you know, Zimbabwe produces top quality products, mostly non-GMOs, so we are hoping that should be a selling point for Zimbabwean products and Zimbabwe is really pitching on that.”
Zimbabwe continues to prohibit the growing of GMO crops, making it a good source of non-GMO food and produce, which is in demand in many markets.
Dr Sibanda said Zimbabwe and the UAE enjoyed excellent trade relations.
UAE is one of Zimbabwe’s major markets for horticultural products like blueberries.
“So, we are hoping that we can do more business in terms of technology, companies coming to Zimbabwe to help us move up the value chains,” she said.
The UAE, Dr Sibanda said, has the financial means to assist Zimbabwe in upgrading and growing its value chains in order to produce and export value added products.
Apart from investments in Zimbabwe’s value chain, especially agro-processing, the country is looking to attract funding into the mineral value chains, chiefly platinum group metals, gold and diamonds.
Zimbabwe requires significant investments across the economy after suffering from under investment and economic contraction for nearly two decades.
The country’s economic prospects now look bright following interventions by President Mnangagwa’s administration since November 2017.
Zimbabwe has been instituting widespread reforms to its legal and ease of doing business to attract investment, and is this year expected to register massive economic growth of at least 7,8 percent driven by a bumper harvest, massive public construction and strong global metal prices.ac