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The Leader of the State Council of China
The Vice President of Kenya
Invited Guests, Ladies and gentlemen
It is with great pleasure that I thank the organizers of this important conference for inviting me to be part of the momentous event.
I wish to state from the outset that many Chinese companies have invested in Africa in general and my beautiful country Zimbabwe in particular, in various sectors such as mining, agriculture, manufacturing and many others.
Chinaâ€™s trade with Africa has undoubtedly been growing at an exponential rate in the last decade and is poised to grow even more.
For those of you who have yet to invest in our country, you are welcome especially as we seek to deepen our economic relations on a win-win basis that serves the interest of our peoples. We are the new place to do business, not as junior partners, but in mutually beneficial partnerships that benefit the people of our countries.
While we have been dogged by toxic politics, the star status of Zimbabwe as a natural destination for investment is a matter of public record-a country with abundant skills and a hospitable people that yearn for the best for itself and future generations.
Over the past three years, I have attended several investment fora in and outside Zimbabwe and I have been heartened by renewed business interest in our country despite the challenges still dogging us and which we are confident of resolving.
We have many opportunities in mining, agriculture, tourism and manufacturing and our quest to attract investment has been affected by the way in which sections of our inclusive government have gone about implementing measures to promote the participation of our previously disadvantaged citizens in the mainstream economy.
But you must appreciate that implementing such measures in an uneasy coalition government would be difficult and we will continue to mitigate the excesses of the law pending the next election when I am confident the elected government will bring finality to this issue.
In the meantime, I give assurances that that any foreign company that operates within the confines of the law as they stand has my protection and that of our Constitution.
Ladies and gentlemen, I am aware that our uneasy coalition has shown what bad politics can do to prospects of investment and prosperity.
But I carry great confidence, both for my country and the African continent in general that there is a breed of leadership on the continent that is leaving behind the politics of the past and embracing the new ethos of development.
Predictability, peace and stability are important if we are to create opportunities for investment and growth so that we can improve the lives of the people, create jobs and trade with others, including China, as equal partners.
I am glad that the train has left the station and only those on board will reach the destination with us.
It is true that Africa is a continent where different realities exist side by side, but it is also true that we remain a continent of hope both in terms of growth and investment.
Personally, I see signs of hope for my country Zimbabwe; signs of a country rising to the challenge and beginning to assert itself; a country beginning to assert not only its political and economic rights, but its rightful tag as the destination of mutually beneficial investment. We are ready to embrace the East, West, North and South.
There is no substitute for a global approach in this fast-changing world.
The challenge for Zimbabwe, as in many African countries, remains poor infrastructure such as road networks, mixed messages over the participation of our citizens that now cuts across the whole of Africa as well as poor liquidity and limited fiscal space.
It is in the economic interest of China and our other developed friends to work with us to resolve these infrastructural challenges to open up the African resource and to build markets.
My vision for Zimbabwe is a place where a credible and legitimate government would be able to address the issues of enablers such as energy, water, road, rail and air transport systems, building on our notable achievements in the fields of education and health, to provide for current and future generations.
China could play a part--both in present and future relations-- as we strive to build a strong economy, use market principles with safety nets and targeted policies to promote economic and social justice and to provide jobs and uplift our people.
I am encouraged that Chinese State-owned enterprises and others have shown interest in our country. It is for this reason that I have in my delegation our Minister of Public Enterprises and his officials to freely interact at this Fair.
My experience as Prime Minister of Zimbabwe is that peace is a key factor for investment.
That is why policy consistency, stability and policy predictability are the key ingredients of luring investment.
The immediate challenge for any future government in Zimbabwe would be embarking on an aggressive programme of infrastructure rehabilitation, resuscitation of our manufacturing potential and increasing our mining and agricultural productivity.
Some of us represent a new generation whose focus is mainly on building strong economies, creating jobs and developing a qualitative and affordable social delivery system especially in the fields of housing, health and education.
Zimbabwe is a country of opportunity and growth but this must be done through clean investments which benefit the ordinary citizen.
I am certain that most of you are in a position to play a part by investing in Africa, particularly in Zimbabwe, on a mutually beneficial basis as we seek to deepen the relations between our two continents.
I Thank You
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Source: Morgan Richard Tsvangirai
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