NEW: Zim can learn from Rwanda SEZs

30 Sep, 2021 - 20:09 0 Views
NEW: Zim can learn from Rwanda SEZs

The Sunday Mail

From Victoria Ruzvidzo in Kigali, Rwanda

Zimbabwe can draw lessons from Rwanda’s Special Economic Zones (SEZs), which have created thousands of jobs and boosted production within a short period of time.

This came out as the Zimbabwe business delegation here visited the SEZs this week to establish how Rwanda has successfully employed the business strategy.

Launched in earnest in 2018, the SEZs have seen international firms such as car manufacturer Volkswagen set up shop, raising its market share to 33 percent from 2 percent three years ago.

Clothing manufacturer Pink Mango now employs 2 600 workers, of which 80 percent are women. It exports 75 percent of its security wear and fashion clothing to several countries including Belgium, Spain and France.

The SEZs operate under a special dispensation that includes provision of free factory shells, tax incentives and other requisite services such as water and electricity.

“These zones have really increased the production of goods and services in this country. We have investors coming in to open businesses. Both local and foreign investors are keen,” said a Rwanda Investment Board official during the tour.

Mobile phone manufacturers, fruit and vegetable canning firms, pharmaceutical companies and many others have set up shop in these specialised business areas.

Pink Mango is a joint venture between a Rwandan based in Belgium and a Chinese investor.

This gives scope to such partnerships between Zimbabweans in the diaspora and respective suitors elsewhere to establish firms in special economic zones in Harare, Bulawayo, Mutare and other locations where these have been set up.

SEZs have long been established as critical economic hubs that have sustained economies in Asia and other parts of the world.

At least 20 Government officials and 80 business executives are in this country for the Rwanda-Zimbabwe Trade and Investment Conference that ends here today.

About 123 Rwandan businesses and 20 government officials met with their Zimbabwean counterparts to forge mutually beneficial trade and investment deals.

The Zimbabwe delegation was headed by Foreign Affairs and International Trade Minister Frederick Shava.

Zimbabwean Ambassador to Rwanda Professor Charity Manyeruke, Industry and Commerce Minister Sekai Nzenza and Environment, Climate Change, Tourism and Hospitality Industry Minister Mangaliso Ndlovu have been here since Sunday.

Business-to-business meetings held today are believed to have already inked millions of dollars worth of deals.

Rwandan business executives have expressed their desire to visit Zimbabwe before the end of the year.

The second leg of the Zimbabwe-Rwanda Trade and Investment Conference is set for Harare in the first quarter of next year.

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