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UK delegation coming for Zim Asset

A delegation from United Kingdom will visit Zimbabwe next week to help the country implement the economic blueprint, the Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation (Zim Asset).

BY VICTORIA MTOMBA

The British Embassy on Friday said the theme of the mission was, Applying UK expertise in project finance, infrastructure and development to support the implementation of Zim Asset.

The delegates will meet with senior members of the Zimbabwean government, parastatals, captains of industry, international donors and British businesses already trading in Zimbabwe.
“Trade and investment is vital for Zimbabwe’s development. We want to strengthen business links and to show our commitment, we are sending a Trade Mission,” British Ambassador to Zimbabwe Catriona Laing said.

“To translate interest into investment, the government of Zimbabwe will need to reassure investors that their assets will be secure — for example by clarifying its indigenisation policy.”

Alex Lambeth, director of British Expertise, a leading trade organisation, will lead a five-member delegation.

Other members of the delegation are drawn from UK firms with substantial regional experience across many of the key infrastructure sectors identified by the Zim Asset development plan, such as water, sanitation, energy, power and transport.

Zim Asset requires a funding of US$27 billion up to 2018.
Last week, United Nations agencies operating in Zimbabwe said they have aligned their programmes in line with Zim Asset clusters.

The mission will publish a report detailing opportunities for interested firms in London and Johannesburg. The visit by the United Kingdom delegation comes at a time when Zimbabwe has received over US$1 billion investments from China for over five years.

Zimbabwe’s relations with its former colonial master soured at the turn of the millennium after the country embarked on a haphazard fast-track land reform programme that decimated the agriculture sector.

The visit comes after Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov led a delegation to Zimbabwe last month culminating in the signing of an agreement for the US$3 billion platinum project in Darwendale.

The investment will be the largest in Zimbabwe since it dollarised in 2009. By 2024 the mine is expected to be mining 10 million tonnes of platinum ounces and creating 8 000 jobs.

Zimbabwe has received several investors in the past five years but its foreign direct investment (FDI) has failed to hit the US$1 billion mark to be at par with other regional neighbours.

FDI is expected to further decline between 2015 and 2016, according to a latest report by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on the sub-Saharan region.

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