South African Business Delegation Flattered By Good opportunities in Zimbabwe

The group made the announcement after a one-day fact-finding trip to Harare, where its delegation met President Robert Mugabe and ministers in the country’s two-month-old unity government.

Busa chief executive Jerry Vilakazi said the economic and political climate had improved and the time was ripe for South African companies to focus on growing trade between the two neighbours.

"The delegation came away with a clear sense of commitment to political stability from all parties involved in the inclusive government. It was a well-timed chance to expose some key South African companies to the opportunities in Zimbabwe," Vilakazi said.

He said a bilateral investment promotion and protection agreement with Harare was in the pipeline, adding that it would "provide some peace of mind for South African investors".

Vilakazi said Busa and the Zimbabwean cabinet members identified key areas that needed attention for an economic recovery to happen, notably energy and agriculture.

"Ensuring a sufficient and stable energy supply is also critical and increased investment into coal mining was highlighted as a priority.

"Agriculture was another sector that was specifically identified as being fundamental and of interest for the South African private sector."

The group did not give a date for the investment conference. It said efforts would be made to draw attention to the most vital sectors and to explore private-public partnerships.

– Sapa