Golden Sibanda in Dubai, UAE
The country seeks to use Expo 2020 Dubai to capture and entice investors to explore trade and investment opportunities in the country, Commissioner General of the event, Ambassador Mary Mubi said on Friday.
She said the country will have a calendar of events focused on promoting trade and investment in specific sectors across mining, horticulture, tourism, arts and culture, mining and infrastructure, among many others.
Mubi said Zimbabwe, which will also use the event to learn from others, had divided its exhibition pavilion into four looking at its history and culture, opportunities, human capital and the future (Vision 2030).
More than 25 million visitors are expected to visit Dubai during Expo 2020, during which it will, apart from highlighting opportunities in the country, also highlight achievements in health, education and climate change control.
Under the Second Republic, Zimbabwe, already showing strong signs of growth projected at 7,8 percent this year and declared by the Government as open for business, needs significant foreign and domestic investment after years of contraction and stunted growth.
“During the six months, we will highlight the opportunities in the country through sector events that will be coordinated through ministries and their associations so that we punctuate that with, hopefully, business interactions, B2Bs,” she said.
Mubi said they would engage the services of a local company to try and match Zimbabwean business people with prospective investors in the country during the course of the Expo 2020 Dubai.
“The six months calendar is one which is punctuated by a number of activities; Investment conferences (trade and investment), tourism, arts and culture, mines and agriculture. So, during the six months, we will be highlighting those sectors,” she said.
Mubi said Zimbabwe was aware, for example, that the UAE had a huge market for horticulture produce and the country needed to organise players across agriculture to come and engage and find partners.
“We also know that the UAE is interested in our mining sector, so our mining people were here this morning (yesterday) trying to finalise details on their event that is taking place in November, where the (mines) minister will come and the key players will come as well,” she said.
Mubi said, however, that the key issue was to ensure adequate preparations where stakeholders in Zimbabwe should provide adequate and key information required by prospective investors for match making.
Zimbabwe is among a total of 191 nations that are showcasing opportunities in their countries at the global exhibition, which started on October 1, 2021 and continues until March 2022 after being pushed back last year due to Covid-19.
There has reportedly been huge interest from the Zimbabwe private sector to participate at the event in the United Arab Emirates, despite the constraints posed by the negative impact of the disruptive global pandemic.
There has also been significant enquiries already at Expo 2020 Dubai about opportunities across Zimbabwe’s economy, which have been referred to relevant authorities for more details, including the Zimbabwe Investment Development Agency (ZIDA).
Mubi said it was critical that Zimbabwe’s institutions responsible for promoting trade and investment responded to references given by other arms of Government in order for the country to realise its objectives.
“Some (would be investors) have shown interest in horticulture, some in mining, tourism and various sectors. So we have referred them to the relevant authorities so that they get the necessary information,” Mubi said.
“The other thing that we are very conscious of is that, even as we are here at Expo, one of the things that, and as media, is important to flag, is that we must have responsive systems.
“Once we get an inquiry, and if we give people the necessary authority to give more information, there must be a response because there are 190 others; we are competing. Sometimes there may be a lot of interest in sectors but if our systems don’t respond quickly, we lose an opportunity.
“But there is a great deal of interest in Zimbabwe, not just in our history but also in our mineral products, horticulture; and this market is huge for horticulture and one of the issues is that if we are going to contribute to fulfilling the needs in this particular market, there are certain things (we need to do),” she said.
Mubi said Zimbabwe needed to organise farmers and aggregate their produce in order to be able to meet the huge demand for horticultural products emanating from the UAE, where it is already exporting, including blueberries.
The southern African country has a good opportunity to grow its exports and trade with the UAE where Zimbabwe is already exporting lettuce, berries and gold, among others.
In demonstration of its commitment to attract investment, Mubi said, Zimbabwe would this week have a Vice President among high level global leaders participating at the Global Business Forum Africa, 13-14 October.
She also said the Second Republic had demonstrated its commitment to improving the trade and investment environment in the country by undertaking a host of reforms bearing on business and investment, a process she said remained ongoing.
Zimbabwe will also have a National Day on March 14 next year, during which it will have a high delegation of key Government officials further highlighting the trade and investment opportunities in the country.
“There are a number of investment projects, which we will showcase as part of that (National Day) during our six months at the expo, so that we can present these projects that we believe may have takers during this expo and beyond,” she said.