Five quick reasons to invest and stay in Zimbabwe

I have met a lot of investors who are interested in investing in Africa. They always ask me this question “given the option where would I invest my money outside South Africa in the SADC region?”. It would definitely be Zimbabwe. I thought of putting together five quick reasons that quicklycome to mind

1.      Zimbabwe has one of the best climates in the world;

Seventh Wonder of the World

According to the International Living’s 2011 Quality of Life Index Zimbabwe and Malta have the Best Climate in the World. Every year, the magazine rates and ranks 192 countries for this index, and Zimbabwe scored 100% on climate, one of the nine categories voted upon. So it is the good climate that one is after you are sure to get that in Zimbabwe.

2.      Its people are hardworking, eduacated and entrepreneurial.

Harare's Skyline

For the period up to 2010, Zimbabwe had the highest adult literacy rate (91.2 percent) in Africa; Countries with the lowest being Mali and Burkina Faso have the lowest (28.7 percent).In the world it is rated higher than countries like India and Brazil which are taunted as some of the world leading emerging markets.

3.      It is the richest country in natural resources per capita in the world

Operation at one of Zimbabwe's platinum mines

Zimbabwe is the richest country on earth with respect to untapped natural resources per person. Zimbabwe sits at the centre of the largest concentration which consists of the world’s largest diamond reserves, second largest platinum reserves and over 40 exploitable minerals has the potential to turn Zimbabwe into the jewel of Africa.

4.      A peaceful land

Zimbabwe dollars during the crisis period

Zimbabwe still presents a sound infrastructure and great living space. It is no Somalia and is surrounded by countries, themselves emerging from conflicts and collapse but now exhibiting rapid growth and considerable stability like Mozambique and Angola.

5.      A top destination for those interested in seeing Untamed Africa

Elephant Hills golf course

Zimbabwe is teeming with wildlife. One of its biggest nature reserves is part of the three Trans Frontier Parks which constitute the largest contiguous conservation area in the world with the greatest diversity that is available anywhere in the world.

USD being "Laundered " in Harare

At present Zimbabwe probably has the most open and free economy in Africa – there is no exchange control, no limits on what you can bring in or take out. They have no price controls and the labour market is regulated but dominated by negotiations between organized labour and management. They have a good banking system that is highly competitive and a stock market that is growing and able to serve the need for raising local capital.

Well if these are not enough reasons to convince some one, the Chinese investors seem only to be interested in one reason, “Natural Resources”.

The Death of African Cities : By Edson Charikinya

Death of African Cities

It is my opinion that Africa should brace itself for more massive protests similar to those that are being seen in the northern part of the continent. Unlike what most people would want the world to believe this wave of uprising are not being caused by Twitter, Facebook or the Internet.  This new wave of uprising threatening African cities is due to a swell in the urban population. According to a recent report from UN-HABITAT over a third of Africa’s 1 billion inhabitants currently live in urban areas, but by 2030 that proportion will have risen to one and a half billion. That represents a 50% increase in urban population in just over 20 years. In its 2010 report UN-HABITAT reported that, Cairo would grow by 23% to 13.5m people. By 2025, however, it will have been overtaken by both Lagos (15.8m) and Kinshasa (15m). This gives one a clear indication of where the next trouble spots are going to be on the African continent. This massive growth of our cities results in shortages of water, food and electricity. Infrastructure to support this growth in African cities is not being developed at a rate that is fast enough to meet the demands of a rising population.

Richard Florida in his book The Rise of the Creative Class (2002) identified a fraction of a city’s population termed the “creative class” as an essential element in spear heading developmental growth in cities .The term creative class used by Richard Florida refers to individuals who create growth and development in today’s post-industrial society. This class covers a wide range of professions from the traditional services and production profession to professions in areas such as science, education and product development. Richard Florida further states that the creative class is not only defined by job type but also by the characteristics that promote the expression of the creative aspect. He highlights the three Ts that are essential preconditions for creativity to unfold which are: talent, technology and tolerance.

Looking at these preconditions and trying to get a picture of where Africa stands is not an easy task. If the major economic indicators are anything to go by Africa is in a real mess and one gets the feeling that our cities are facing imminent death. African cities have lost a significant proportion of their Talent pool to AIDS.  The presence of a large population of African emigrants in developed cities also highlights the extent at which Africa has lost most of its talent. This brings similar conditions to Africa to those that were brought about by the slave trade which significantly diminished Africa’s population thereby resulting in little economic growth on the continent. Back then manpower was the essential element for economic growth, way before the invention of the steam engine.

It is obvious to me that due to poor education and telecommunication infrastructure our societies are not embracing new technology at a rate that is fast enough to allow us to make effective use of new technology in our production processes. New technology would make our production processes much cheaper hence result in our products being competitive on the international market.  As it stands all Africa has to offer the world is its raw mineral resources which are limited. Exploitation of Africa’s natural resources is also leaving a huge dent on the environment which is making rural life unsustainable hence the swelling of the cities. As for tolerance within our cities the recent Xenophobic attacks in South Africa highlights the low level of tolerance towards different nationalities in our cities. Racial tensions still play a key role in retarding growth in most African cities making them unfavourable destination for much needed foreign investment. The question that i think will face the next generation of African leaders is how to improve on these preconditions (the three Ts) that foster creativity?