The Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Retired Lieutenant General Dr Sibusiso Moyo who is in London on a re-engagement drive says the potential in Africa is enormous, with possible returns for investors who act early on identified opportunities likely to be significant.
Addressing the Westminster Business Group in London today, Dr Moyo said the newly-energised American approach dubbed “Prosper Africa” is a most welcome development and offers the prospect of a far more diverse spectrum of trade and investment partners for African countries as they move forward.
“Three weeks ago, i was in Maputo to attend the 12th US-Africa Business Forum, at which a US-coordinated consortium put its signature to a US$20 billion investment to develop Mozambique’s natural gas resources. The US has finally woken up to the very real trade and investment opportunities across the African continent and with a US$60 billion fund on the table, the US$20 billion Anadarko Project in Mozambique constitutes the biggest single investment ever on the African continent. I am confident that others of similar or possibly even greater magnitude will follow,” said the minister.
Prosper Africa follows in the wake of FOCAC, TICAD, KOAFEC – representing Africa-focused partnerships launched, respectively by China, Japan and Korea and which have, to a greater extent, facilitated both trade and investment into the continent from the three economic powerhouses.
Minister Moyo, however, highlighted that alongside the opportunities, there are still significant challenges in African countries, which, in the past, have tended to deter investors adding that the new dispensation in Zimbabwe has a plan to overcome these hurdles.
“Challenges such as lack of adequate infrastructure, insufficient market-size, lack of suitably qualified or educated personnel, corruption – both petty and industrial-size, Zimbabwe certainly faces some of the biggest challenges on the continent. These challenges are historical in nature, stemming from two-decades old economic and political crisis. The land reform process we undertook, along with a protectionist and even isolationist approach to our foreign policy, also created perceptions of Zimbabwe as a risky investment destination in which investments were not safe and could be expropriated at any time we are correcting these mistakes. What encourages us as a new dispensation is that we are aware of these challenges and we have a plan to overcome them,” he said.
Government has embarked on economic reforms through the transitional stabilisation programme (TSP) which is expected to stabilise the economy and lay a solid base for sustainable economic growth.