Africa Moyo Deputy News Editor
Zimbabwe intends to lure cash-rich investors from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to exploit opportunities in mining, tourism and manufacturing when it engages them at the 5th Global Business Forum on Africa 2019 in Dubai.
The GBF Africa, which starts today and ends tomorrow in Madinat Jumeirah, Dubai, encourages international revenue flows into Africa by engaging decision-makers on the global investment scene.
The Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry is organising GBF Africa 2019 under the theme, “Scale Up Africa”, which underscores the centrality of cross-border cooperation in supporting and scaling up Africa’s next phase of sustainable economic growth and development.
President Mnangagwa arrived in Dubai yesterday accompanied by a number of captains of industry for the business forum, which will also be attended by several African leaders.
The captains of industry will join their counterparts from across the continent to deliberate on potential tie-ups with UAE investors, and market potential in Zimbabwe.
Secretary for Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Mr Nick Mangwana told The Herald at Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport yesterday after seeing off the President and his delegation that attracting investors into Zimbabwe was central to Harare’s participation in GBF Africa 2019.
Mr Mangwana said the decision to have more businesspeople and fewer Government officials flying to Dubai stemmed from the 2020 Budget presented by Finance and Economic Development Minister Professor Mthuli Ncube last Thursday.
“There are lots of incentives for our local businesspeople and also to attract investment (in the Budget),” said Mr Mangwana.
“This is an extension to that, where the President is going to Dubai to engage with his counterparts. He has gone with a number of businesspeople; our corporate sector is with him.
“They will speak to business opportunities in Zimbabwe; they will speak to the business climate in Zimbabwe, the challenges and also the strengths. They will also hopefully come back with joint ventures.
“They will attract businesspeople because the best way you can attract business in Zimbabwe is having people who are having business in Zimbabwe to speak to the environment.”
Mr Mangwana said it was easier and convincing if businesspeople spoke on and sold investment opportunities available in Zimbabwe and the operational environment, as they were easily believed by their counterparts, as opposed to Government officials.
“When we speak as Government, people may see politics, but corporates speak to corporates, they speak the same language; there is resonance,” he said.
“That is the reason why most of the people that have gone with the President are businesspeople, are captains of our industry.”
Speaking on arrival, Professor Mthuli Ncube, who accompanied the President said: “This is a conference that brings African business together along with partners here in the UAE and also globally. It is our hope that we will be able to cement our business relations with UAE going forward.
“Zimbabwe has strong, long relations with the UAE. We received medical equipment from them and we continue to trade between the two countries and we hope that this will grow, but also we will network with other countries that are here.
“This is fantastic for our engagement and re-engagement. The UAE is very critical for that purpose and we are here to cement those relations.”
Further, Zimbabwe plans to upgrade bilateral ties with Dubai, which have escalated following President Mnangagwa’s visit in March this year.
The visit has seen Dubai supplying medical drugs, not only to victims of Cyclone Idai, but also to equip local hospitals and clinics.
High-level public and private sector stakeholders from many African countries, including former Heads of State, CEOs, entrepreneurs, industry experts and economists, are set to exchange ideas in Dubai from today.
Mr Hamad Buamim, president and CEO of Dubai Chamber, has indicated that since inception, GBF Africa has served as a catalyst for UAE-Africa economic cooperation and business exchange.
He said the 5th edition will highlight new high-potential areas where African companies can collaborate with their UAE counterparts to create new business opportunities and capitalise on existing trade and investment potential.
Dubai-Africa non-oil trade has increased steadily in recent years, a development showing the expanding trade ties and growing business confidence between the two sides.
GBF Africa 2019 is expected to have interactive sessions and panel discussions focusing on entrepreneurship, innovation, game-changing partnerships, success stories, opportunities and challenges.