Story by Justin Mahlahla
The Minister of Industry and Commerce, Dr Sekai Nzenza says Zimbabwe is ready to tap into India’s technological expertise for the development of the local industry.
She was speaking during a virtual Voice of the South Summit hosted by India from 12 to 13 January and attended by more than 120 global leaders.
“I would like to express my profound and sincere appreciation to Honourable Minister of Commerce and Industry, Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distributi on and Textiles of India, Mr Piyush Goyal for inviting me.
“The Voice of the South Summit is being held at an opportune time when the South-South cooperation is increasingly becoming a driving force behind global economic recovery. In light of the currently obtaining global crisis we all face today, such as surging inflationary pressures emanating from Euro geo-political tensions as well as legacy effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, South-South collaborative spirit of cooperation should be placed within the context ot the global cconomic recovery as well re-energizing the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It is worth recognizing that the intra-south trade is now higher than ever, accounting for more than a quarter of all world trade, thereby providing an opportunity to drive the global economic agenda,” said Minister Nzenza.
She said innovation and technology should be viewed within the context of the 4th Industrial Revolution as a catalyst for accelerating industrialisation in Africa.
“Ladies and Gentlemen, under His Excellency, the President Dr E. D Mnangwagwa, Zimbabwe has developed an economic blue print called the National Development Strategy 1. This has targeted private sector-led industrial growth through harnessing innovation and technology. In particular, within the fiscus and through foreign direct investment, we have prioritised the retooling and refurbishment of industries to create more efficient, proficient and high value models of value addition. The result ladies and gentlemen, has been an increase in capacity utilisation and diversification of products within industry and commerce in Zimbabwe.”
Minister Nzenza expressed Zimbabwe’s readiness to harness India’s talent in growing its own economy.
“My second point ladies and gentlemen is that the 4th Industrial Revolution is a digital and technological revolution. We are therefore open to harness the talent and expertise which exists in India to innovate towards productivity. Beyond this, it calls for technological and innovation exchange with those countries like India who have advanced this expertise. I theretore call upon the South-South Summit to organise a Technology and Innovation Exposition in order to leverage India’ s experience towards the advancement of Africa. Lastly, I would like to emphasise that all efforts towards technology and innovation must be channelled towards value addition and beneficiation. Africa’s continued over-reliance on commodity exports continues to be a cause for concern,” she noted.
The minister also shared on Zimbabwe’s policies to promote trade and investment, in line with the Second Republic’s thrust towards economic development.
“To this end, we are currently offering a cocktail of fiscal and non-fiscal incentives which proffers a conducive environment for anyone to pursue brownfield or greenfield projects in Zimbabwe. In addition, we have put in place a One Stop Shop Investment Centre at our lead investment agency, the Zimbabwe Investment Development Ageney (ZIDA). This single window allows anyone to have investment projects processed in a very short space of time.”
“The NDS1 mandated our sector to spearhead the economic transformation through industrialization by fostering our productive sectors to “Move up the economy up the Value Chains”. In this regard, the Government of Zimbabwe has prioritized 10 (ten) value chains in which we are inviting investors to come and partner us,” she said.
Among the priority areas is mining, agriculture, tourism, renewable energy and pharmaceuticals.
The Voice of Global South Summit ran under the theme: ‘Unity of Voice, Unity of Purpose’ and brought bringing together countries of the Global South to share their perspectives and priorities on a common platform.