Zimbabwe is up scaling its focus on special economic zones (SEZ), supported by technical experts from China to align the concept with its new thrust for open business.

This comes as the open business mantra has attracted new interest on Zimbabwe from a number of source markets.

At the height of this attention for possible investment deals is the need for the country to adequately prepare for the significant inflows expected from the investor commitment generated so far.

One of the important vehicles that Zimbabwe has adopted is the SEZ, and the government is now roping in Chinese experts to ensure that the initiative becomes a sustainable and effective driver of economic development.

According to Mr Jiao Xueli, the Director of National Development and Reform Commission of China, the Chinese model is one of the best which Zimbabwe can adopt and align with its rejuvenated thrust well pronounced under the open business mantra.

However, to achieve this, Mr Jiao believes there has to be a buy in from stakeholders to ensure the fruition of this concept.

The Senior Principal Director in Charge of Policy in the Office of the President and Cabinet, Mr Ozias Hove said the visit by the Chinese technical group will proffer solutions on how Zimbabwe can utilise this concept to its economic advantage.

On completion and successful implementation, special economic zones have the capacity to add substantial amounts of foreign direct investment flows to Zimbabwe.

Special Economic Zones benefits   

The establishment of special economic zones in Zimbabwe with their mix of tax incentives, trade benefits, deregulation and other investment privileges are set to encourage economic development when they are fully operational.

“The special economic zones have long been a popular tool used worldwide by governments to develop economies as they generate additional economic activities as well as the promotion of investment from domestic and foreign sources. So there is no doubt that Zimbabwe is set to benefit from the establishment of the economic zones as they will give existing and potential investors space to exploit different business adventures,” said Dr Gideon Gono, the Chairperson of the Special Economic Zones in Zimbabwe.

For an economist, Mr Luckson Zembe, special economic zones have a clearly spelt out role to play in any economy through the creation of employment, development of infrastructure and the attraction of foreign direct investment.

But, he had a warning.

“The establishment of the special economic zones should follow certain procedures and also the issue of corruption should be addressed for the nation to attract foreign direct investment,” he said.

The special economic zones form part of Zimbabwe’s Vision 2030 of being a middle income economy through sustainable development promotion of industrialisation and economic development.