“Zimbabwe can become the financial center of the Sadc region”

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the herald

business journalist

MAURICE Finance, chief operating officer Vinod Bussawah, who is also chairman of Harare-based financial advisory firm Bard Santner Markets Inc., says Zimbabwe can become a regional financial hub, with Victoria Falls as its financial services centre, if the authorities maintain the political orientation towards creating an enabling environment, while working hard.

Bussawah, speaking at a panel discussion moderated by ZTN presenter Andy Hodges, said Mauritius was initially doubted by some, including international financial institutions, when he embarked on its journey to become a financial services hub, but persisted through thick and thin until its strategy started to work. He says Zimbabwe must push hard until it succeeds in its quest to make Victoria Falls an international center for financial services.

The discussion took place on Thursday at the ZimTrade exporters conference in Harare.

The conference was sponsored by Ecobank and Bard Santner Markets Inc, a Harare-based financial advisory services firm, which Mr Bussawah also chairs.

Mauritius Finance is the voice of the financial services industry in the island nation.

The conference was officially opened by the Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Minister Mthuli Ncube, who replaced President Emmerson Mnangagwa who was opening the second annual public procurement conference organized by the Procurement Regulatory Authority on the same day. Zimbabwean public.

Other senior officials and business executives present included Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade Frederick Shava and his Acting Permanent Secretary Rudo Faranisi, Minister of Industry and Trade Dr Sekai Nzenza and his Permanent Secretary Mavis Sibanda, ZimTrade Managing Director Allan Majuru and its Board Chair Clara Mlambo. , Hunyani Managing Director, Wellington Dangarembizi, Bard Managing Director, Senziwani Sikhosana, and Dubai International Chamber Regional Director, Khalid Al Ali, among others.

Minister Ncube said exports are key to Zimbabwe’s economic vision and progress.

“This year’s conference is held under the theme ‘Inclusive, Diverse, Connected’, which underscores the need for us to be deliberately inclusive in developing and promoting trade, and to diversify our export basket as we let’s build the economy and integrate by connecting with regional and global markets,” he said.

“Exports are, indeed, one of the main drivers of economic development and a major contributor to the achievement of our Vision 2030.

“The outline of our national plan, National Development Strategy 1 (NDS1), is “to be a prosperous and self-sufficient upper middle income society by 2030, with job opportunities and a high quality of life “.

“The role exporters play in this endeavor cannot be overemphasized as they strive to bring in much-needed foreign exchange, create jobs for our citizens and set the pace for technological advancement. This is essential to continue industrialization aimed at achieving a structurally balanced economy by the end of NDS1.

Minister Ncube said exports rose 37.3% last year to $6 billion from $4.39 billion in 2020. The government has set an export target of $7 billion by 2023.

Minister Shava said: “As you know, the main objective of the national trade policy is to transform Zimbabwe from an exporter of raw materials and semi-processed products into an exporter of high-value competitive products. international.

As we diversify our exports from raw materials to high-value products, efforts will be made to ensure that all provinces of the country are included and that no one is left behind in this development process.

Dr Nzenza said Zimbabwe cannot build a sustainable manufacturing sector or a secure export network without value addition.

“As we strategize at government and private sector level, we must remain mindful of the African Continental Free Trade Area and other market access opportunities in the Sadc and Comesa region,” he said. she declared.

Majuru said innovation is key to boosting exports.

“As we increase value, we also need to deliver new products that respond to current shifts in consumer behavior globally,” he said.

In his address, Mr. Bussawah also spoke about Zimbabwe becoming a financial hub, the Victoria Falls Offshore Financial Services Center and the need for a Zimbabwe-Mauritius Business Council to promote business, trade and tourism, among other commercial activities between the two countries.

“First of all, I am excited about the plans to create the Victoria Falls Offshore Financial Services Centre. If done well, it will be the first step towards building trust and attracting global finance, bank deposits and capital,” he said.

“Our experience is that the money starts out shy at first and doesn’t stay in the banks for long, but over time it settles down and then ends up in the mainstream economy.”

Mr. Bussawah added: “Secondly, the establishment of the Victoria Falls Stock Exchange is a good decision. We have no doubt that the exchange will attract quality listings and significant capital. This is preventive, but my institution is working on listing a foreign asset on the exchange.

“It will bring scale, diversity and opportunity to the capital market that otherwise would not be possible.

“A good basis for these plans would be the establishment of a Mauritius-Zimbabwe Business Council with a joint secretariat of Mauritian and Zimbabwean businessmen.

“This council can be established to provide businesses in Mauritius and Zimbabwe with a single channel for sharing information, building partnerships, trading and attracting foreign investment. The council will also provide advice on how to do business in both countries. »

Mauritius has over two decades of experience in attracting cross-border business, investment and financing.

As an internationally renowned jurisdiction, it is home to international banks, law firms, corporate services, investment funds, and private equity funds.

Zimbabwe has ambitions to do the same, with Victoria Falls, the country’s top tourist destination, positioned to become its financial services hub.

Since gaining independence in 1968, Mauritius has successfully transitioned from a sugar-based monoculture to a diversified economy that includes manufacturing, tourism, finance and the budding high-tech sector. Its gross domestic product (GDP) has grown by more than 3.5% per year for the past 30 years.

The Mauritian miracle is essentially based on two factors.

First, Mauritius has undertaken reforms and adopted policies that have led to a higher level of social cohesion, well-being and economic growth, while aiming to reduce the level of inequality among its population.

The democratization of the economy extends to the basic sectors to provide free education, free transport to schoolchildren and pensioners, and free health care. This distinction of merging social and economic equity is an example that reducing inequality is not just a matter of social justice, but of economic performance.

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