THE Matabeleland region has vast investment opportunities which South African investors want to exploit, an official said yesterday.
Franks Stevens, an economic advisor to a three-member South African business delegation which was in Bulawayo yesterday, told Southern Eye Business on the sidelines of a meeting with captains of industry in Bulawayo yesterday that they were impressed by the huge investment potential in the region.
The business delegation consisted of representatives from Durban Chamber of Commerce and from the South African government.
Stevens said the delegation identified investment opportunities in sectors like mining, tourism and the transport industry.
He said the investments were likely to materialise after South Africa holds its election scheduled for May 7 this year.
“There is a huge interest for investment in the region from the South African side,” Stevens said.
“After this meeting a bigger business delegation would be coming to Zimbabwe especially after the elections, to spearhead investment in the region.”
The South African business delegation arrived in the country last week following an invitation by the Matabeleland Trade and Investment Network an organisation representing business groups in the region.
The delegation was in Victoria Falls on Monday holding consultative meetings with business people and in Hwange on Tuesday looking into possible investment opportunities in the area.
The three-member delegation was looking for investment opportunities in mining, agriculture, tourism, among other sectors of the economy in the region and spearheading the recovery of the industries currently in a sorry state.
Speaking at the meeting in Bulawayo, Matabeleland Business Association president Peter Phosa said the region was in desperate need of working capital to finance the revival of industry.
“We have the necessary infrastructure and what we need is finance to revive industry in the City of Bulawayo which used to be an industrial hub,” Phosa said.
Industries in the city need an estimated $400 million to recover, but have been battling to attract the required capital largely due to policy inconsistencies — chiefly the indigenisation law which calls for foreign companies to yield 49% of their shareholding to locals.
This saw close to 100 companies shutting down in Bulawayo alone, throwing over 20 000 workers onto the streets in 2012.
In 2004, there were over 200 companies employing 50 000 were operating in Bulawayo, but the city continues to deindustrialise.