Pretoria – Dubai-based billionaire businessman Nawab Shaji Ul Mulk is in Zimbabwe for the groundbreaking ceremony ahead of the construction of a state-of-the-art complex in Mt Hampden, a few kilometres north of the capital Harare.
The US$500 million Zim Cyber City is a mixed-use hi-tech park on the outskirts of Harare being developed by UAE-based industrial conglomerate Mulk International and was on Wednesday commissioned by Zimbabwe’s President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
“When the president (Mnangagwa) came to Dubai during the time of the Expo, we gathered along a group of businessmen which I was chairing. We also had the same mixed opinion on the Zimbabwe investment climate but after hearing out the president and his compelling arguments, our group decided to come here and check for ourselves,” Ul Mulk told broadcaster eNCA.
“I must say it is quite different from the perception of the international media. The government here has created many reforms which actually help bring international investments. For example, we have been given a special economic zone which allows us to invest freely,” he said.
He said there is a “positive atmosphere”, with the Zimbabwean Cabinet pushing to open the neighbouring country for international investment.
“I think any project that you do, of this magnitude, will boost the local economy and empower the local people. Jobs are going to be created and this particular investment that we are doing is also a commercial block chain enterprise,” he said.
“As far as Zimbabwe is concerned, we are looking for job creation, we are looking for large contracts being awarded to the local economy and boosting the local economy,” he said.
The businessman said he hopes to alter the business perception on the landlocked Southern African nation which has been dogged by decades of economic collapse and hyper-inflation.
“The perception of Zimbabwe itself, that it is difficult to do business, we hope to change that,” said Ul Mulk.
The Herald newspaper reported that the cyber city will be spread over 2.5 million square metres of land and is expected to have a shopping mall, luxury villas and apartments, cyber technology offices and other social facilities.
The facility, according to the State-owned publication, will also house the Mulk Tower which is projected to be the tallest building in Africa.