Zimbabwe-China set to make Bulawayo a special economic zone
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Addressing delegates at the conference, Economic Planning and Investment Promotion Minister Tapiwa Mashakada said the ministry was busy working on converting Bulawayo into a special economic zone.
He said the city would soon be the hub of manufacturing as it used to be, and invited investors to open factories in the city.
"Bulawayo will soon be the hub of manufacturing in Zimbabwe as it was well known for. There are a lot of industries that were shut down due to viability challenges but we are busy working on converting Bulawayo to a special economic zone," he said.
"I would like to invite investors to open factories in Bulawayo and I hope we would be able to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with China to show our commitment."
Minister Mashakada said he was impressed by the continuous increase in investment coming from China, saying the Government would also continue to improve the investment environment.
"It gives me pleasure to see the continued increase in investments coming from China. Such co-operation is greatly appreciated and commendable. The ministry shall do everything to ensure that the investment climate is favourable.
"Our thrust as Government is to learn from the Chinese working models of development to ensure that we achieve our targets," said Minister Mashakada.
He said the ministry was also working on establishing an investment brand to deal with negative investor perceptions.
"In the proposed bill we intend to re-introduce the Special Economic Zones (SEZ) and Bulawayo has been selected as a SEZ because of its function as an industrial hub.
"A platform policy dialogue called the Investors Roundtable has also been initiated by the ministry. This is a forum that brings together foreign and domestic investors to dialogue with the leadership of Government on doing business and investment promotion issues," said Minister Mashakada.
The Chinese Ambassador to Zimbabwe Xian Shunkang said Zimbabwe was a resource rich country whose economy was growing fast.
"As one of the most important countries in Southern Africa, Zimbabwe has experienced a rapid growth in the past three years and is yearning for investors.
"The timing could not be better. I do believe that the enterprises from China have abundant business opportunities here," he said.
Ambassador Shunkang urged the Chinese delegation in the country to take advantage of the situation in Zimbabwe and invest in housing projects.
"I have to say that the Chinese delegation made the wisest decision to come here in Zimbabwe, a country which is enjoying a booming market and whose economic potentiality has not been fully tapped.
"I have also realised that a lot of families in Zimbabwe need houses. We can set up a joint venture to manage a housing programme for the people of Zimbabwe," he said.
He commended the Ministry Economic Planning and Investment Promotion for organising the conference.
"It is the first time for an event of this kind to be held and it serves as a landmark in our bilateral economic relations. I hope more and more communication like this will enhance that traditional relationship between the two countries," said Ambassador Shunkang.
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