PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa yesterday disclosed that he dangled an offer of land in the picturesque Victoria Falls to United States President Donald Trump to build a golf course.
Mnangagwa, who is in the US for the United Nations General Assembly, revealed his offer to Trump at the Zimbabwe’s Investors Forum held in New York yesterday.
Mnangagwa urged the American business community to support Zimbabwe’s rebirth in areas such as agriculture, mining, infrastructural development, tourism, ICT among others.
Zimbabwe and the US have frosty relations dating back to the early 2000s where the later slapped the southern African nation with sanctions under Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act of 2001 (Zidera) for alleged human rights abuses under former President Robert Mugabe. Mugabe denies the alegations.
The US renewed the sanctions soon after the July 30 elections this year, saying that Zimbabwe had no ‘culture of democracy.’
Mnangagwa said Zimbabwe wanted an new era of relations with the US and pursue economic co-operation between the two countries, adding that he had wanted to meet Trump at the Davos conference held in Switzerland in January.
“When I was in Davos I met staffers from the Trump administration,” Mnangagwa said.
“I had hoped to meet President Trump but I had to leave before he arrived, but I told his people that if President Trump wishes, I will offer him ground in Victoria Falls in the national park.
“We have wildlife national park in Victoria Falls, but I had offered President Trump ground to build a state-of-the-art golf course so that as he plays, he can be able to see the big five,” he said amid cheers from delegates.
The President said his government was keen for investments in the form of joint ventures or infrastructure based on the build operate and transfer (BOT) model.
“My government is reforming the public sector to eliminate bureaucratic red tape, bureaucratic bottlenecks and enhance efficiency and responsiveness. We are resolved to make Zimbabwe an attractive and a safe investment destination where capital feels safe. In addition, I have committed that my administration will ensure policy clarity, consistency, transparency and predictability.”
The government is working on the ease of doing business, he added, and wants to reduce the approval process from around six months currently to a week or less. This will also reduce cases of corruption where investors pay bribes to speed up the granting of licences.
This would include the setting up of a one-stop centre that will facilitate all clearances under one roof instead of sending investors from one ministry to the other.
Mnangagwa said his government will ensure that there is protection of investments.
“As part of our economic reform measures, we will continue to guarantee the protection of private property rights.
“Equally we will observe bilateral investor promotion and agreements. Let me assure you that all foreign investments will be safe in Zimbabwe and foreign investors are free to repatriate their proceeds in accordance with our laws.”
Mnangagwa also met diasporans in the US and invited them to invest back home.