Zimbabwe has been urged to enact local content laws for the country to achieve meaningful economic development that will transform the lives of future generations.

This came out at the inaugural International Business and Investment Forum held in Gweru this Saturday (yesterday) evening.

A Gweru based diversified business concern hosted the inaugural International Business and Investment Forum aimed at unlocking investment capital while affording locals room to form synergies with business tycoons from all over the world.

Pan African Leadership and Entrepreneurship Development Centre board chairman Brigadier General Dr Ambassador Wallace Williams said while foreign direct investment is essential for any nation to prosper, Zimbabwe and Africa in general should craft policies that protect locals by plugging in leakages in critical sectors of the economy.

“When we talk of local content what are we talking about? We talk of employment. We talk of foreign direct investment but these people mostly bring their own labour. How about the locals, so let me get into specifics. What then are the specific strategies and key indicators to promote local content, one local strategy, two, policies framework, three contracts framework, four legislative framework what then is contract framework, what sort of contracts has government signed if Zimbabwe doesn’t have a local content act, you need to have one,” he said.

Dr Williams, a Trinidad and Tobago top diplomat, is a personal friend of renowned pan Africanist Walter Rodney who is the author of “How Europe Underdeveloped Africa”, a 1972 edition which gives an insight on how Africa had been consciously exploited by European imperialists, leading directly to the modern underdevelopment of most countries on the continent.

Organisers of the event, River Valley Group of Companies’ chairman Engineer Mncdedisi Dube said the private sector has a huge role to play for the country to achieve an upper middle income economy by 2030, hence the need for local enterprises to create synergies with foreign businesses.

“This business interactive is very important not to us and other businesses but the country as a whole. Those who spoke before me have pre-emptied everything highlighting the importance of business synergies and networking.  As a country we have a lot of business opportunities as alluded before. We hope to have many such meetings in future,” he said.

Apart from Trinidad and Tobago, the inaugural International Business and Investment Conference also attracted delegates from Nigeria and South Africa.

The business indaba was running under the theme: “Exploring Business Opportunities through Global Networking”.