Prospective foreign and local investors, captains of industry and investment facilitators converged in Chinhoyi for the Mashonaland West’s inaugural Zimbabwe is open for business investment conference.

The conference aimed at unravelling before the world the investment opportunities and potential areas of cooperation in several sectors, drew participation from international, regional and local investors and business executives.

The conference also coincided with a business expo that saw local companies and service organisations exhibit their products.

The clear message from the conference for those involved in the investment discourse was that Mashonaland West has a critical mass of natural resources that remain under exploited and that the province is the most endowed in every area of economic activity, including high concentration levels of a range of minerals.

Guest of honour, Zambian Minister of the Southern Province, Dr Edify Hamukale described political and the general conditions in Zimbabwe as conducive for investment, saying there is so much goodwill because of the initiative by President Emmerson Mnangagwa to have the country belong to the community of nations.

Mashonaland West Provincial Affairs Minister Cde Webster Shamu said the province will do all it can to contribute meaningfully to the gross domestic product, adding the investment conference should define the role of Mashonaland West in the new economic and political order.

According to the Zimbabwe Investment Authority, Mashonaland West stands out as the world’s outstanding mineral host, besides boasting of a good tourism and agricultural base.

Former Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor and chairman of the Special Economic Zones Authority, Dr Gideon Gono, rallied the international community to invest before the opportunities are snapped up.

“Further steps are still being taken to smoothen the ease of doing business initiative and to that effect, the business facilitation bill has been drafted,” he said.

Meanwhile, the RBZ has decried the low uptake of a financial facility meant to promote production and generate exports.

The apex bank’s deputy director for financial markets, Mr William Manhimanzi said the facility has $450 million awaiting to be used to promote exports through production.

The conference was attended by investors from Italy, India, China and Pakistan as well as diplomats from several regional countries, local investors and captains of industry.