Zimbabwe looks to China as the West pulls off the plug

Finance, Economic Development and Investment Promotion Minister Professor Mthuli Ncube
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HARARE – Finance, Economic Development and Investment Promotion Minister Professor Mthuli Ncube is expected to headline the Zimbabwe Capital Markets Conference in China next week aimed at attracting foreign direct investment into the country.

Financial Markets Indaba (FMI), in partnership with the Victoria Falls Stock Exchange (VFEX) will co-host the Investment Promotion Roadshows to be held in Beijing on 12 March and in Shanghai on 14 March.

FMI entails a series of interactive investment-related forums and conferences convened in Johannesburg, London, Harare and virtually.

The organisation is based in Johannesburg with a presence in Harare and London.

FMI has hosted more than 50 investor events in the last eight years as well as webinar events. Its aim is to mobilise investment through convening diaspora, leading global institutional investors, corporate leaders, industry experts and its team of analysts to explore sector and market trends and identify significant investment opportunities.

The latest edition of investment promotion roadshows will be held in collaboration with the Ministry of Finance, Economic Development and Investment Promotion (MoFEDIP).

Expanding on the success of the inaugural Zimbabwe Capital Markets Conference held in London in 2023, these investment forums are expected to be innovative, decisive, and more impactful for participating delegates and the country.

“The conference’s primary objectives are to create a platform where Zimbabwe’s deal flow and its true potential will be on display,” said FMI managing director Mr Patrick Muzondo.

“Our #ZimInvest platform will spotlight opportunities across diverse sectors, delineating avenues for strategic capital allocation by institutional investors, investment firms, and the diaspora into various asset classes,” he said.

The conference is expected to provide comprehensive transparency and clarity on Government policy and how it aids foreign investors, particularly the Chinese investment community.

It is also expected to foster partnerships between the Zimbabwe business delegation and the Chinese investment community as well as present the Chinese investment community with compelling investment opportunities.

The interest generated at the conference should extend to igniting funding transactions of Zimbabwean projects, ventures and companies by Chinese institutions, subsequently connecting Chinese technical partners, including engineering firms, with Zimbabwean project developers across renewable energy, mining, resources and other sectors for cooperation and contracting.

Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE) chief executive officer Mr Justin Bgoni will be one of the key presenters at the conference where he will unpack the country’s capital markets landscape, with special attention on the US dollar-denominated exchange, Victoria Falls Stock Exchange (VFEX).

The VFEX is seen as an enabler for capital raising by businesses for their expansion projects or retooling.

In 2023, the VFEX, registered four listings from across mining, financial, and retail sectors as the exchange, in line with Government initiatives, continues to gain momentum from both local and international companies.

This interest is supported by legislation that has flexible exchange control provisions that facilitate capital raise, efficient dividend repatriation for investors and disinvestments.

The VFEX has become a globally competitive platform for capital raising, ultimately transforming Victoria Falls, the country’s tourism capital into an appealing Offshore Financial Services Centre.

This comes as Zimbabwe is implementing measures to turn the resort into an International Financial Offshore Centre in the resort, bench-making from successful models like Dubai and the Isle of Man to attract foreign investment.

Operating as a hard-currency zone in US dollars, the centre will offer appealing tax incentives and a range of financial services beyond traditional banking, including fund management, insurance, trust business, tax planning, and Investment banking activities.

The successful growth of this centre will be crucial for reshaping global perceptions of Zimbabwe in financial markets.

“The upcoming conferences on Zimbabwe’s Capital Markets serve as a significant platform to showcase the city’s advantages, presenting compelling reasons to a distinguished audience with substantial decision-making influence in the global financial landscape,” said Mr Muzondo. VFEX listed firms will also make presentations in China outlining their operations, and investor opportunities and projects requiring support.

As part of the conference, there will be plenary sessions featuring panel discussions involving investment firms, corporates, regulators, and senior government officials.

These discussions aim to foster engagement with delegates and participants on topics such as opportunities, policies, efforts to mitigate investment risks and costs, and enhancing the attractiveness of the local economy.

Mr Muzondo also indicated that the VFEX and FMI will prior the conference verify committed and qualifying participants interested in engaging with government representatives and delegates through side meetings during the conference’s B2B and roundtable sessions.

Officials from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ), Securities and Exchange Commission of Zimbabwe (SecZim), Insurance and Pensions Commission of Zimbabwe (IPEC) and the Zimbabwe Investment and Development Agency (ZIDA) will also participate at the conferences. – Herald