CCA used the occasion to emphasize that before investing in Zimbabwe most American companies will need to see a combination of political and economic reforms to create a sustainable investment climate in the Southern African country.
The lunchtime event in Washington was attended by more than 120 business and government leaders. It came on the same day that CCA President and CEO Stephen Hayes, who is visiting Zimbabwe at the invitation of the United States Embassy there, addressed a large gathering of Zimbabwean business leaders in Harare.
In his remarks, Hayes advised the Zimbabwean business community not to expect any significant new American private sector investments in the near-term until reforms are made, but added that the American business community looks forward to the day when Zimbabwe is a “beacon of investment and a leader in addressing Africa’s economic development needs”.
At the Washington luncheon, Mr. Tsvangirai, saying that “Zimbabwe cannot do it alone”, called on the American business community to support his country’s reconstruction. He enumerated efforts taken in the past three months that have reduced inflation rates from 500 million percent to minus three percent, increased government accountability and addressed corruption. He reassured the American audience that his government is working to establish stability and rule of law necessary to protect private investments. He said that the recently established Multi-Donor Trust Fund, which is administered by international donors, will help support Zimbabwe’s economic recovery as it meets donor criteria for accountability.
Accompanying the prime minister were Zimbabwe’s minister of economic planning & investment promotion; the minister of regional integration & international cooperation; and the country’s minister of tourism & hospitality industry.
In addition to having fertile agricultural lands and some of the world’s largest reserves of strategic minerals, Zimbabwe has traditionally been one of Africa’s leading tourist destinations.
The country’s economy collapsed following controversial economic reforms that were coupled with harsh crackdowns on the country’s political opposition, including Mr. Tsvangirai. Mr. Tsvangirai, who heads a unity government with longtime Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, is scheduled to meet with President Barack Obama on Friday to discuss how the United States can support reforms to bring about the rule of law, respect for human rights, and free and fair elections in Zimbabwe.
About The Corporate Council on Africa
Established in 1993, The Corporate Council on Africa is a nonpartisan 501 (c) (3) membership organization of nearly 180 U.S. companies dedicated to strengthening the commercial relationship between the U.S. and Africa. CCA members represent nearly 85 percent of total U.S. private sector investments in Africa. The organization is dedicated to bringing together potential business partners and to showcase business opportunities on the continent. From September 29-October 1, 2009, CCA convenes the U.S.-Africa Business Summit, the premier private sector trade and investment forum between the U.S. and the nations of Africa. For more information, visit www.africacncl.org.