Mnangagwa announces new investment law to open economy

Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa on Wednesday announced that his government was working on a new investment law aimed at opening up the economy to foreign investors.

The new law is part of the Mnangagwa administration’s drive to revive the southern African nation’s economy that suffered for decades under former president Robert Mugabe.

Speaking during Zimbabwe’s Independence Day celebrations – the first without Mugabe since 1980 – Mnangagwa acknowledged his country had made mistakes in the past, which cost it investment opportunities.

The country suffered numerous sanctions under the Mugabe rule, which drove investors away.

“The Investment and Business Facilitation Bill, which seeks to give legal underpinning to Zimbabwe’s commitment to opening up the economy is undergoing due legal process,” Mnangagwa said.

He added that the new bill would simplify investing procedures, cut bureaucracy and create a “one-stop shop” for investor registration requirements.

Currently, investors take up to 90 days to set up a business while dealing with several government departments.

In a further bid to gain investor confidence, the country is also set to hold a presidential election in July, in which the government said would allow Western observer envoys. Under Mugabe’s rule, they were not allowed in on accusations of bias.

Mnangagwa in his speech said the current hardships would not be solved overnight, but in due course.

He said cash imports would be increased while the government would seek financing from regional and international institutions.