“Zimbabwe will again be the breadbasket of Africa,” said African Development Bank president Dr Akinwumi Adesina on the margins of the Africa Investment Forum Market Days 2022 in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire this week.
Adesina backed a call by Zimbabwean president Emerson Mnangagwa on investors to realise economic opportunities in the country while shunning negative risk perceptions. This, despite the country losing its status as major exporter of wheat, tobacco, and corn before economic decline in 2000.
Amongst other members of his cabinet, Mnangagwa was flanked by Anxious Masuka, Zimbabwe’s agriculture minister. Explaining his game plan at the Côte d’Ivoire event, Mnangagwa said, “The focus is to persuade global capital assembled in this city to realise that there are opportunities for investment in Zimbabwe. Our mission here is to assure investors that Zimbabwe is a safe investment destination.”
According to Mnangagwa, the agriculture sector will help Zimbabwe to reach the goals set as part of the country’s 2030 vision. Adesina added that Zimbabwe could count on the bank’s assistance. He confirmed the bank’s approval of a $4-million grant to support the development of a secretariat to move the country’s debt arrears clearance issue forward.
Adesina, who visited Zimbabwe earlier this year, also agreed to champion the country’s debt clearance strategy. This, after Zimbabwe was hard hit by sanctions imposed by the European Union and other Western countries.
Masuka believed the biggest opportunity was a land reform programme that Zimbabwe had now embarked on.
The government has put agriculture at the top of its agenda, he said. “We want to develop agriculture. There are massive opportunities.”
Besides cotton production, the country also focused on the revival of economic sectors like mining, tourism and manufacturing.
For the first time since the Africa Investment Forum began in 2018, three promising business transactions from Zimbabwe made it through to boardroom discussions during the Africa Investment Forum Market Days.
The Africa Investment Forum platform is an initiative of the African Development Bank and seven other development institutions. This includes Africa 50, the Africa Finance Corporation, the African Export-Import Bank, the Development Bank of Southern Africa, the Trade and Development Bank, the European Investment Bank, and the Islamic Development Bank.