INSIGHT: Why You Should Plan to Attend Zimbabwe Investment Tour 2019 - #ZIT2019

Simanga Madhlabuta is inviting you to plan to attend Zimbabwe Investment Tour 2019 (#ZIT2019) and position to glean significant rewards as and when the Zimbabwean economy stabilises.

INSIGHT: Why You Should Plan to Attend Zimbabwe Investment Tour 2019 - #ZIT2019

By Simanga Madhlabuta

In boardrooms and conference events all over the world it’s been declared, “Africa is the next frontier for high growth investment.” According to the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, Africa currently offers the highest return on foreign direct investment in the world and the continent’s economic growth prospects are among the world’s brightest. Six of the world’s 12 fastest-growing countries are in Africa (Ethiopia, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Mozambique, Tanzania, and Rwanda).

However, when pitched the African opportunity, many investors are quick to claim that they know all about the Africa’s “high risk, high return” investment terrain, before promptly dismissing the notion of investing on the basis of untenable risks. In fairness, the pragmatic truth is that the risk is real. Africa certainly delivers in terms of providing investors with a smorgasbord of excuses not to get stuck into the continent’s promising economies. That’s why I believe that best place to weigh up the Sub-Saharan African investment opportunity, and in this particular case, Zimbabwe, is at ground-level.

Hence, the team at Zimbabwe Investment Tours is designing a 2-day #ZIT2019 experience that will allow discerning investors like you to check the pulse of the Zimbabwean economy and to take in the country’s entrepreneurial resilience first-hand. Here are a few reasons why you should plan to attend:

Attentive Curation

We are carefully curating a balanced mix of senior government officials (representing key agencies and ministerial departments), top private sector investment professionals (drawn from the asset management and banking sectors), prominent corporate leaders (who are spearheading intrapreneurial corporate growth across a number of key sectors), notable local entrepreneurs (working the trenches of investible ventures), and of course, other serious Africa-focused regional and international investors keen on accessing actionable insight about doing business in Zimbabwe.

Unique Approach

#ZIT2019 will be a significant departure from the talking heads dynamic that typically characterises investment-related gatherings. Our team is leveraging its combined commercial deal-making, media production and live event management capabilities to produce an immersive experience that will feature intimate one-on-one interactions, 'boots-on-ground' business visits, interactive fireside chat, panel discussions and facilitated Q&A sessions and tailored match-making. We can’t wait to share more details about this tour in the coming weeks and months! Follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin to keep up with the latest updates.

Great Timing

In my previous blog post entitled Zimbabwe: Are the lights coming back on? I wrote that while it isn’t “party time” for Zimbabwe’s economy just yet, I believe that the country is properly open for business and that commercially viable opportunities abound for those willing to wade through the myriad oversimplifications swirling around regarding Zimbabwe’s investment prospects in order to come to their own conclusions. The fact is, there are various efforts on the go to revive the economy and whatever you make of the ruling party’s labourings to that end, they appear well-incentivised to post wins in terms of rebuilding a functional, growing economy before the next election in 2023 comes around. The Zimbabwean government is keenly lobbying the world’s investment community and noteworthy efforts are being made to modernise investment laws and improve the ease of doing business.

Take the national budget deficit, for instance. According to Zimbabwe’s Finance Minister Professor Mthuli Ncube, the country’s monthly budget deficit declined from US$651 million in August 2018 to US$39.8 million in September 2018. Furthermore, the recent liberalization of exchange rates is something that, while fairly unpopular on the streets, has been welcomed as a necessary purging mechanism by the country's industrial and commercial communities.

Big Opportunities – A Sampling

Here is a sampling of some of the larger investment gaps in Zimbabwe at the moment:

Zimbabwe is the third largest platinum producer in the world. The country has numerous other minerals in her belly, making mining one of the nation's key economic drivers. The agricultural and tourism sectors are both showing signs of impressive growth potential— this despite the economic and political ringer the country has endured over the last decade or so.

Worldometers puts Zimbabwe’s year on year population growth rate at 2.7%. While the jury is out on whether there is a positive correlation between a huge population and a nation’s GDP, one thing is certain, Zimbabwe has a growing population with a strong youth base and a sizeable underutilised labour force that is available for immediate deployment. In addition, Zimbabwe’s strategic geographic placement within Southern Africa and friendly relations with its neighbours make it strategically well-positioned to serve the entire region.

Like many countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, not least, neighbouring South Africa which currently imports power from regional sources like Mozambique, Zimbabwe is subject to a perennial energy deficit. The country needs about 2,000 megawatts of power, but only generates about 1,500 megawatts from its four power generation plants. Electricity demand is steadily rising as the economy is starting to stir. There is still a massive energy gap, despite the recent Kariba power generation capacity increase. The ongoing Hwange power plant expansion project is expected to ease the pain, but it is clear at this point that even with that project coming online, there is plenty of room for private players in space. This is why the government is keen on engaging investors interested in solar power and other alternative energy sources.

The Train Is Moving

While Zimbabwe doesn’t feature on too many Top 5 Investment Destinations in Africa lists, the country remains, by many metrics, a promising investment prospect. The Zimbabwean opportunity is no doubt attractive to investors sporting a higher than average risk appetite paired with a mid to long-term outlook. The growing list of investors (corporate and otherwise) betting on Zimbabwe’s future include the likes of the South African retail giant Pick n Pay, the Indian Pepsi-licensed bottler Varun Beverages, the Moti Group - which is invested in African Chrome Fields, Russia’s JSC Afromet, which has partnered with  Zimbabwe’s Pen East Ltd on a platinum smelting project, and even one of Africa’s leading business incubator-slash-accelerators Raizcorp - founded by the South African entrepreneur Alon Raiz, who has partnered with high-profile Zimbabwean entrepreneur Dr Shingi Munyeza to launch Raizcorp Zimbabwe. These folks and many others are now positioned to glean significant rewards as and when the Zimbabwean economy stabilises. Why not join them?

Follow Simanga on Twitter @SmangaMad.

Image credit: Henry Hakulandaba