Open for business? Appraisal of FDI in Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe has teetered on the edge of economic crisis for the past 20 years. The situation was compounded by a political crisis that resulted in the 2017 ‘military assisted transition’. President Emmerson Mnangagwa promised a new dispensation and said that ‘Zimbabwe is open for business’. But economic revival depended on an injection of hard currency and, two years later, there is little progress to show for it. This report seeks to establish the extent to which the new dispensation has lived up to the rhetoric of being open for business and of transforming the ruling ZANU-PF party. It analyses how the local and international business communities have reacted to the new government. It also seeks to answer the question of whether substantial FDI has found its way into Zimbabwe and, if not, why this should be the case, given initial indications of the Mnangagwa administration’s professed intentions. The report contends that while much was promised, very little has been delivered in terms of an injection of fresh capital into the economy. The new dispensation has squandered the good will it earned during the November 2017 transition. The pace at which the government has rolled out much-needed economic and political reforms has not met the expectations of either citizens or the international community. Consequently, the much-vaunted investment has not found its way into the country. The economic situation remains perilous, with the government playing catch-up to market forces.