Leonard Ncube
Victoria Falls Reporter
ZIMBABWE Stock Exchange (ZSE) officials last Thursday met Victoria Falls Municipality management and other stakeholders in the resort town to finalise steps towards the operationalisation of the much awaited Victoria Falls Stock Exchange (VFEX).

A ZSE team led by chief executive officer Justin Bgoni, held marathon meetings with different stakeholders here and also inspected various properties with a view to open an office this week.

VFEX, a wholly-owned subsidiary of ZSE was recently issued with a licence by the Securities and Exchange Commission of Zimbabwe (Secz).

The Government has long-term plans for Victoria Falls and wants to create offshore financial services where visitors will combine tourism and business.

This will increase tourists’ stay in the country while doing business.

The Government is already in talks with several international investment banks to support the VFEX, which will be denominated in foreign currency and targeting foreign investors as well as global capital markets especially the mining industry.

Several capital projects are in the pipeline among them development of a convention centre with state-of-the-art conferencing facilities, motor racing and five-star hotels as the Government wants Victoria Falls to be its conference and events capital.

Victoria Falls was also designated a tourism Special Economic Zone hence the need for more local and foreign investment.
ZSE has since invited applications from stakeholders interested in participating at the bourse.

Mr Bgoni said the Victoria Falls community will be the biggest beneficiary as the VFEX brings along vast investment opportunities, prestige for the town and high end jobs.

“Now we are going to the phase of establishing presence in Victoria Falls. We are getting very close, this is the last phase although there are few things that we need to do but when you start looking for space that means you are ready to move,” he said.

“The aim of our meeting is to actually look for space to establish an office. We also wanted to meet the local authority and introduce ourselves and find a way of working together. We have seen quite a few good places and hopefully over the next few days we should finalise something and come to do a physical launch here,” said Mr Bgoni.

He said the VFEX will be an investment platform especially for Zimbabwean companies listed elsewhere while the resort town itself will further stamp its authority on the world market.

Elsewhere in the region, few countries have the stock exchange in different towns. In Zimbabwe Bulawayo once had one before it was closed.

“We are going to have a physical presence in Victoria Falls and in the long term it’s going to be a separate exchange with its own management here. The first listings that we are expecting are Zimbabwean companies that are listed elsewhere who are willing to list on the Victoria Falls Stock Exchange.

“The first thing in terms of benefits is in terms of prestige. This becomes the first town outside Harare to have a Stock Exchange. Bulawayo used to have but it was closed. The most important thing about exchange is in terms of high quality jobs.

“What the stock exchange does is that it comes with other businesses around like stock brokers and bankers and when they get established in Victoria Falls it means there will be high quality jobs,” explained Mr Bgoni.

He said as a developing town, the stock exchange will be a platform to raise money for Victoria Falls growth.

Mr Bgoni said discussions are underway between ZSE, Government and several international companies although he could not be drawn into giving details.

Victoria Falls Mayor Councillor Somvelo Dlamini said the local authority will benefit from foreign direct investment.

“As much as we appreciate investment, we wanted to find out benefits of the stock exchange to the community. They assured us that there will be employment and foreign direct investment and boost to the local economy.

“The appetite for investing in our town is high and we want investors to also abide by our local policy to employ locals and invest in long term projects and also plough back to the community especially in development of sporting facilities,” said Cllr Dlamini.