Zimbabwe holds crucial investor conference

The coalition formed by President Robert Mugabe and his former arch rival and now Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai is seeking US$8 billion over the next three years to breathe life into an economy battered by almost a decade of political infighting.

According to the Ministry of Economic Planning and Investment Promotion, the conference that would be used to showcase the country’s investment opportunities has attracted 700 delegates from all over the world.

Mr Mugabe, Mr Tsvangirai and Deputy Prime Minister Professor Arthur Mutambara would address the conference on the formation of the inclusive government, the implementation of the September 15 power sharing agreement and also explain their working relationship.

The three leaders would also speak on cabinet policy formulation, perception issues and the rule of law and property rights.

Political bickering and poor economic policies blamed on Mr Mugabe’s previous administration drove Zimbabwe to world record hyper inflation levels and a devastating humanitarian crisis.

But since the formation of the unity government last February between Mr Mugabe’s Zanu PF and the two Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) led by Mr Tsvangirai and Prof Mutambara, Zimbabwe has created a platform from which the crippled economy can be revived.

African institutions and neighbouring countries have promised the fledgling coalition close to US$1 billion in lines of credit so far and there are reports that China is ready to provide US$950 million in soft loans.

Economic Planning and Investment Promotion Minister, Mr Elton Mangoma says the conference comes at a time when there were signs of an economic revival.

When we came into office In February, we had employment of six per cent and capacity utilisation of less than 10 percent, Mr Mangoma told a recent mining conference.

Our production has now gone up to between 20 and 30 per cent and employment is now about 15 percent.