Kiyapili Sibanda, Business Reporter
INVESTORS from Indonesia have expressed readiness to tap into opportunities offered in the revival of Zimbabwe’s textile manufacturing sector, an official has said.
The increase in cotton production under Command Agriculture this year has excited investment interest in cotton and the clothing value chain with more prospects for job creation under the Special Economic Zones (SEZs) model.
Affirmative Action Group (AAG) Matabeleland region president, Mr Reginald Shoko, who was part of a Zimbabwean delegation that attended the Asian country’s business expo last week, said their trip was an eye opener as they had the opportunity to interact with potential investors who expressed interest in investing in Zimbabwe.
He told Business Chronicle that the Indonesia market was ripe for business partnerships especially in the textile sector under which Bulawayo has already been earmarked for revival under the SEZs.
“The expo created a lot of opportunities and special interest was in textile value addition on cotton. We did a lot of business matching programmes and great interest was shown in cotton processing,” said Mr Shoko who returned home with his team on Tuesday.
“This is set to benefit Bulawayo because it has already been declared an SEZ in textile. Currently negotiations are taking place and Indonesia EximBank wants to finance and fund the projects.”
The adoption of the SEZ model is expected to help attract increased foreign direct investment through a package of incentives for designated zones. Bulawayo, Harare, Victoria Falls and Tokwe Mukosi have been identified as pilot areas for SEZs, which are expected to be expanded to other areas in the country.
Mr Shoko said the success of SEZs required local businesses to be honest when dealing with international investors and uphold international best practice.
He said many investors were willing to invest in the country but were repelled by reports of corruption in business deals.
“As the Zimbabwean business community, a lot has to be done to attract international buyers. For SEZs to be successful we must change the way we do business because there is an outcry on the level of dishonesty and corruption that is driving away potential investors. We must change the way we conduct business for our economy to grow,” said Mr Shoko.
He also said the illegal sanctions imposed on the country by the West and its allies affected the textile sector as the Indonesian market buys cotton using third parties.
Article Source: The Chronicle