Since the political transition (affectionately being called ‘new dispensation’) that Zimbabweans witnessed late last year, the ‘Zimbabwe is Open for business’ slogan is being massively promoted. President Mnangagwa’s government has been making a series of policy reforms and introducing new provisions in current laws as it bids to undo past wrongs.
As recent as last week, Finance Minister, Patrick Chinamasa announced reforms that are going to be implemented in state enterprises and parastatals.
While the initiatives and what they are trying to achieve is commendable, the slogan is negated by failing to do even the most basic thing such as having a functional website. Many government websites are not functional yet the new dispensation is attempting to woo investors. Zimbabwe Investment Authority (ZIA) is one important website which is not working.
ZIA is mandated to promote and facilitate both foreign direct investment and local investment. ZIA’s website is supposed to provide outside investors with information regarding the country’s investment environment.
In 2016 the former President Robert Mugabe launched the Electronic Government (e-government) programme saying that the government will be working towards ensuring the improvement of efficiency in the public service and also computerization of all government departments. Nonetheless, the government is failing to walk the talk.
You might even remember Zororo Makamba’s video in which he was blasting the Zimbabwean government lack of online presence.
Interest to invest in Zimbabwe has been on the rise but without a functional website where do ZIA think people can access information easily. Already ZIA has approved $950 million worth of investment project proposals in the first three months of this year. Over 200% increase compared to the last year’s comparable period.
It only makes me wonder how many prospective investors we are losing by simply not having functional websites. A recent report by Zimbabwe Investment Authority CEO Mr. Richard Mubaiwa estimates that investments worth at least US$10 billion could have been lost under the former president. One can be forgiven to flirt in thinking that some amount of the lost investments was due to the lack of knowledge of Zimbabwe’s investment climate.
Frustrated by ZIA’s lack of online presence, one interested international investors reached out to us Techzim to inquire about investing in Zimbabwe. Whilst we are happy to help our readers, it’s worrying that prospective investors are now depending on us to provide them with this kind of critical information yet there is ZIA that should be doing for this.