Zimbabwe: Cabinet Backs Diaspora Agric Investments

The Government will facilitate the establishment of joint ventures between diasporans and landowners for the production and export of high quality agricultural products and any other sector for investment as well as unlock knowledge and skills transfer in the country.

To that end, Cabinet yesterday approved an Inter-Ministerial Committee to work out strategies to engage Zimbabweans in the diaspora as part of the Second Republic's policy on engagement and re-engagement as espoused by the National Development Strategy 1.

This was said by Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Acting Minister Dr Jenfan Muswere while delivering the ninth post-Cabinet briefing in Harare yesterday.

He said there was need for Zimbabweans in the diaspora to leverage their capabilities and assets for national development as part of Government's vision to achieve an upper middle income economy by 2030.

Minister Muswere said the proposal was made by Foreign Affairs and International Trade Minister, Frederick Shava as part of efforts to engage the Zimbabweans in the diaspora so that they can contribute towards the country's economic development.

"The nation is being advised that the creation of a diaspora-friendly environment policy framework will assist the country to harness social, economic, political and cultural dividends which would help spur development in the country.

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"The promotion of investments by diasporas in their country is part of the Second Republic's engagement and re-engagement thrust. Diaspora remittances have been one of the key foreign currency contributors in the past," said Minister Muswere, who is also Minister of Information Communication and Technology, Postal and Courier Services.

"The development of a comprehensive policy and strategies will unlock knowledge and skills transfer; diaspora direct investment and philanthropic works. Government, on the other hand, will avail industrial shells and land to eligible diasporas for the construction of specialist hospitals and industrial parks and any other areas or sectors.

"Government will also facilitate the establishment of joint ventures between diasporans and landowners for the production and export of high quality agricultural products and any other sector for investment."

He said to help realise the contribution of the diasporans to the development of their country, Cabinet constituted an Inter-Ministerial Committee chaired by Minister Shava and deputised by Finance and Economic Development Minister, Professor Mthuli Ncube.

"The Committee is mandated to review the National Diaspora Policy as well as develop robust strategies and interventions for diaspora engagement and re-engagement.

"Furthermore, the Cabinet Committee will have sector- specific Sub-Committees which will be mandated to deal with issues pertaining to any sector of the economy," he said.

"In addition, the Consular Services abroad will be strengthened in order to issue civil registration documents, visas and work permits.

"A Diaspora Bond will be listed on the Victoria Falls Stock Exchange by the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development once finalised. It was further resolved that a One-Stop-Service-Centre for Diaspora investment applications be set-up at the Zimbabwe Investment Development Agency (ZIDA) to expedite the processing of the proposals," said Minister Muswere.

Writing in his weekly column in The Sunday Mail last month, President Mnangagwa said because of the cross-cutting nature of investment activities which attract Zimbabweans in the Diaspora, he had directed that a working committee on Diaspora affairs be formed.

"The Ministries of Home Affairs, Industry and Trade and that responsible for Lands and Agriculture, should be part of this working committee which must report to Cabinet. Other ministries can be co-opted as and when issues relevant to their portfolios emerge. This directive is consistent with our whole-of-government approach which daily guides us."

The President encouraged the Zimbabwe Investment Development Agency (ZIDA) to ratchet up activities to lure Diaspora investors.

"In equal and urgent measure, our Zimbabwe Investment Development Agency, ZIDA, must step up its activities to target Zimbabweans abroad who may want to set up shop back home.

These must be facilitated in all ways possible, including by availing industrial stands or factory shells built to purpose for free, or on concessional rates. After all, more jobs will be created and greater value created in our economy," he said.

Artmotion S.Africa

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