The Sunday Mail
THE State of Kuwait is prepared to invest in Zimbabwe but those plans are being held up by lack of movement on signing of a Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement between the two countries.
The Bippa has been on the table for 12 years and Kuwait – which holds the world’s sixth-largest oil reserves – says it has committed to terms but Zimbabwe appears reluctant to sign.
Kuwaiti Ambassador to Zimbabwe Mr Bader Naseer Al Houti recently told this publication that investors from the Western Asian country were willing to pour money into the country, particularly in the gas and petroleum sectors.
“Kuwait looks forward to Zimbabwe opening its doors wide for foreign investments since there are a number of opportunities in the areas of petroleum, natural gas and light industries.
“It is very important for Zimbabwe to protect the environment for Kuwait investors. This is why we are waiting for Zimbabwe to do its part to commit to the Promotion and Protection of Investments agreement which Kuwait has enforced but is still pending on behalf of the Zimbabwe Government.
“There are a number of companies and investors who are very keen to invest in Zimbabwe and if this agreement is signed it will open the doors for these investors,” he said.
Commenting on Government’s position on the BIPPA agreement, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Macro Economic Planning and Investment Promotion, Dr Desire Sibanda said: “I will need more time to look at the agreement and see what stage it is at but generally Government welcomes such investment.”
Ambassador Al Houti said Zimbabwe should also make use of the Kuwait Fund, which has benefited a number of African countries, for infrastructure and other development projects.
Last year, the Kuwait Fund committed US$20 million to finance the
Zhove Irrigation Project in Matabeleland South.
Ambassador Al Houti said, “Zimbabwe should make use of the initiative by His Highness the Emir of Kuwait who allocated US$1 billion in soft loans from the Kuwait Fund for various development projects in African countries, at US$200 million annually and over a period of five years.
“This is an indication of Afro-Arab solidarity and increased ties. There are opportunities for increased trade and investment between member countries of the Gulf Co-operation Council and those of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa.
“Zimbabwe boasts vast natural resources and could process those resources for beneficiation, which would need funding.”
Ambassador Al Houti said Zimbabwean companies had also been invited to the inaugural Kuwait Trade Fair.