U.S.-Zimbabwe Investment Forum
On October 16, 2018, the Corporate Council on Africa (CCA), in partnership with Covington & Burling and CEO Africa Roundtable, hosted the U.S.-Zimbabwe Investment Forum, which provided a platform for U.S. public and private sector members to gain insight into business in Zimbabwe. CCA’s President and CEO, Florizelle Liser, welcomed attendees, discussed the economic climate of Zimbabwe, and invited esteemed guests to provide opening remarks. These speakers included Witney Schneidman, Covington & Burling’s Senior International Advisor for Africa, Ambassador Ammon Mutembwa of the Republic of Zimbabwe, Deputy Assistant Secretary Matthew Harrington of the U.S. Department of State, and Chairman Oswell Binha of CEO Africa Roundtable.
Mr. Schneidman spoke fondly of his past work in Zimbabwe, reinforcing Covington’s strong relationship with the country; Ambassador Mutembwa referenced the importance of international economic integration, and Ambassador Harrington elaborating on the recently passed BUILD Act, which aims to support financial growth in Africa. All recognized how the future of private investment in Zimbabwe was bright and important to international business.
Panel participants included Kenias Mafukidze, the Managing Director of Alpha Media Holdings, CEO of Distributed Power Africa, Divyajit Mahajan, and Matthew Sibanda, CEO of Boltgas. They spoke of maneuvering Zimbabwe’s recent rapid economic development. Mr. Mafukidze recognized the constant need for innovation in the media industry and the need to adopt a bottom-up approach, as media is incredibly receptive to human input. Mr. Mahajan outlined how the future of solar energy relies critically on short term development to reach meaningful commercial development. Meanwhile, Mr. Sibanda discussed the economic climate of Zimbabwe at a macro level; while it is very different than 2010 and is currently experiencing rapid growth, Zimbabwe is in need of foreign direct capital investment in infrastructure to adequately support capital ventures and manufacturing.
New internal demand is being developed in Zimbabwe for previously struggling industries. As the mineral mining industry, crucial to the Zimbabwean economy, becomes more organized in recent months, the opportunities for growth become more prevalent.