Zim charms BITC
BITC stand at ZITF

13 local companies participate in ZITF

Charmed by Zimbabwe’s ‘we are open for business’ mantra, Botswana Investment and Trade Centre (BITC) has expressed interest in investing in the neighbouring country with the hope of growing the local industry.

Since taking over from Robert Mugabe late last year, President Emmerson Mnangagwa has presented a transformed Zimbabwe to both existing and potential investors – whether this transformation is genuine or an illusion remains to be seen.

During his visit to Botswana in February, Mnangagwa resuscitated the then ailing trade relations between the two countries – a development that resulted in local exporters reigniting confidence in Zim.

With a renewed hope for a better Zimbabwe, BITC attended the 59th edition of the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF) held in Bulawayo from last Tuesday through to Sunday.

BITC took along 13 companies to the largest intra-regional trade fair south of the Sahara in order to explore investment opportunities in the country with an estimated population of slightly above 20 million people.

Speaking to Voice Money this week, BITC Export Development and Promotion Executive Director Trunklinah Gabonthone explained that the Botswana business delegation was keen to ‘explore opportunities’.

“We are looking for opportunities that will help local companies to expand our markets into Zimbabwe,” he said.

Gabonthone noted that Botswana probably has the best beef in the world, a backdrop against which Botswana Meat Commission (BMC) is looking at the Zimbabwe market to possibly export beef and other products.

BMC was amongst the 13 local companies participating in ZITF 2018, including: Senn Foods, Choppies Group, Ebat Consultancy, United Refineries Botswana (URB), Arona Foods, Swetwise (Pty) Ltd, Organic Fertilizer Manufacturers Botswana, ABM University, Open Palm (Pty) Ltd, University of Botswana, Kutz & Tutz Hygiene and Labsafe.

In a separate interview, Zimbabwe Investment Authority (ZIA) chief executive officer Richard Mbaiwa explained that plans to harmonise investment laws were already in motion.

“The country (Zimbabwe) has a plethora of investment laws which sometimes do not talk to each other. Investment rules and regulators are also fragmented. There is a need to remove investor facilitation bureaucratic bottlenecks to accommodate investors from Botswana because they want to invest locally,” he stated.

Some of the laws governing investment are the Zimbabwe Investment Authority (Chapter 14:30); the Immigration Act (Chapter 4:02); Companies Act (Chapter 24:03); the Environment Management Act (Chapter 20:27) and the Exchange Control Act.

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