Swiss billionaire and owner of Dolder Grand Hotel in Zurich, Mr URs Ernst Schwarzenbach, has expressed interest in investing in Zimbabwe, in a development that could bring an ultra-luxury, 7- Star hotel here.
Mr Schwarzenbach made public his interest during the Zimbabwe Investment Forum (ZIF) he hosted at his hotel in Switzerland last week attended by Zimbabwean officials and businesspeople as part of the engagements around the World Economic Forum (WEF), the annual business pilgrimage in Davos.
The ZIF fixture was also attended by over 80 investors, private wealth management advisory firms that serve ultra-high-net-worth investors also known as family offices, Swiss corporations, commodity brokerages, investment banks, pharmaceutical companies, construction and property firms, among others.
Harare commercial lawyer Mr Edwin Manikai, who was in Switzerland, told The Herald yesterday that although the deal was still in its initial stages, it had prospects of success.
He also outlined the massive prospects for Zimbabwe set to be unlocked via Zimbabwe’s “open for business” approach.
This year’s engagements built on President Mnangagwa’s appearance at Davos last year. And the grand hotel could be one of the early fruits to pick from the engagements.
Mr Manikai said the billionaire brought with him four business colleagues to meet the forum.
“We are working on the preliminary aspects for such investment, ahead of detailed feasibility, leading to the more technical aspects of investment of such magnitude and paperwork. Although the deal is still in the initial stages, the investor shows much capacity and interest. My estimation is that the family offices at the Zurich Forum represented over $20 billion worth,” said Mr Manikai.
He was among Zimbabwean businesspeople who travelled to Davos for the WEF.
“Last year President Mnangagwa wowed the World Economic Forum, and left an indelible mark on the event, on the International Monetary Fund.
“This year the meeting was more business oriented and the Minister of Finance and Economic Development Professor Mthuli Ncube was the leader of team Zimbabwe and supported by a strong business team comprised of Messrs Herbert Nkala, Gift Simwaka Edwin Manikai, Glynn Cohen and Credit Suisse Derivatives managing director, Ross Mtangi. Ms Natalie Jabangwe and Mr Tatenda Mutizwa, Mr Temba Mliswa, Mr Chido Munyati and McKenzie Institute president, Mr James Manyika, who gave valuable insights into the agenda,” he said.
Mr Manikai said Zimbabwe got the support of South African president, Cyril Ramaphosa and his Minister of Finance Tito Mboweni on the removal of sanctions and possible financial package.
Meanwhile, Mr Manikai, who is part of the Presidential Advisory Council (PAC) announced by President Mnangagwa this week, said the idea of a PAC embodied global best practice.
“Most successful economies have adopted this model and structure to harness some of the talent and resources not tapped through the public sector. The PAC enhances the interface between Government and the private sector, the engine room for economic growth and well-being.
“The economic theme of the Second Republic can only succeed based on a partnership between Government and business, and this platform is an obvious springboard,” he said.
Mr Manikai said there was need for transparency when conducting business.
“All transactions of whatever nature and size, must go through the basic verification processes and transaction flow. We should know that investors are looking for a return, and learn to leave value for everyone on the table and in a legitimate way.
“We should reduce the cost of doing business and cut out corruption. Corruption, currency and certainty are the evils undoing business in Africa. The PAC will assist us verify big deals, and to ensure that there is integrity in all deals Zimbabwe,” he said.
Please note that in our edition yesterday, we erroneously published a picture of Mr Herbert Nkala captioned Mr Edwin Manikai. The error is sincerely regretted.
Source: The Herald Newspaper – Zimbabwe