Speaking at a Zimbabwe Investment Conference being held at Indaba Hotel in Johannesburg’s FourWays to woo investors to the country, Biti said: “We have to develop a model to make our politics sustainable.”
He said what was encouraging was the dialogue that was happening among the principals who signed the Global Political Agreement (GPA) in 2008 and the ministers in the inclusive government.
The GPA was signed by President Robert Mugabe of Zanu (PF), Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai of the mainstream Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) and Arthur Mutambara who in 2008 represented the smaller faction of the MDC.
Biti said Zimbabwe’s debt of US$9,1 billion was a stumbling block to achieving meaningful economic growth rates. He said this debt translated to mean that for every child being born in Zimbabwe, they have a US$ 500 000 debt over their heads. He said the debt was 90 percent of Zimbabwe’s GDP and was the reason why Zimbabwe was not able to access international loans because it was in arrears. Zimbabwe’s challenge was to create an atmosphere to enable foreign direct investment (FDI) and to have line of credits opened.
The Finance minister also said there was need to improve the information communication technologies (ICT), infrastructure, energy and roads.
He said apart from the problem of property rights surrounding farms and the controversial indigenisation law to cede 51 percent of shares to locals, which he said was just political rhetoric more than it was reality and Zimbabwe’s unhygienic politics, all other conditions were conducive for investment in Zimbabwe.
He said Zimbabwe had achieved an impressive economic growth rate on its own without the assistance of bilateral investments in the last three years. “If we have managed to do this on our own in the last three years, what more if we deal with issues arresting our growth.”
He said the inclusive government had managed to stabilise Zimbabwe’s economy that at one time suffered a world record inflation, social sectors such as health and the democratisation process with a constitution making process underway and the liberalisation of the media to a certain extent.
An economist, Kenias Mafukidze said the GPA has was a commitment by decision that they wanted economic growth. He said what was needed now was clear vision for the country. He said the conference was an open invitation for investors to come and do business in Zimbabwe.