CZI prods industry to grab opportunities

CZI prods industry to grab opportunities
Published: 31 January 2018
The Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries says its members must take advantage of the current positive investor sentiment on the country to scout for investments.

CZI president Sifelani Jabangwe told delegates during its 2018 Economic Outlook Symposium yesterday that the new dispensation provided opportunities for companies to attracting fresh investments they need to enhance competitiveness.

President Mnangagwa, who took over from former President Robert Mugabe in November last year, has already pledged to protect the rights of foreign investors and reintegrate Zimbabwe into the international community to attract investment.

He also emphasised this when he met business leaders at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland last week, the first time Zimbabwe was represented by the Head of State and the African Union Summit, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia this week.

The President assured delegates, investors and politicians in Switzerland that the country was now open for business, pledged to protect foreign investors' rights and gave assurance of political stability, free and fair elections later this year.

Mr Jabangwe said the current positive sentiment was an opportunity for business to "strike the hammer while the iron is still hot." He said the symposium came when Zimbabwe had experienced a lot of changes within a short period of time, something industry and businesses should take advantage of for their growth.

"A lot has happened lately (such as price) instabilities, (but) the new dispensation has ushered in new hope for the economy. This should assist business optimise production by taking advantage of the positive sentiment. There is need to convert the opportunities created by the new environment into tangible growth," said Mr Jabangwe.

The CZI symposium drew captains of industry together who analysed the current economic environment, trends as well as projecting the outlook for this year. They concurred that the impetus for growth was there, but relevant authorities needed to work on reducing the fiscal deficit, which had been a strain to the economy for decades.

It was also agreed there had been a mismatch in the employment patterns since 2008 when formal employment in the private sector was 1,3 million before declining to 800 000 in 2016.

"On the other hand, Government employment has been on the increase, which economists said was an "economic anomaly" that should be addressed.

While economists agreed the economy was poised for growth this year, they said the country needed to grow by at least 4 percent every year to catch up with regional economies.

"Zimbabwe failed to maximise growth when prices of commodities were rising. Now, to catch up with regional counterparts, the country must experience at least 4 percent or more in terms of annual growth rate," said BancABC group economist James Wadi.

Also worth mentioning in the 2018 economic outlook was the slow start to the rain season, which has a bearing on the country's agriculture sector, harvest and also has a bearing on the amount of food that can be imported into the country.
- the herald
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