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Foreign Investments Guidelines

Zimbabwe’s three (3) main entry points for foreign investment are; the Zimbabwe Investment Authority (ZIA), Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE) and the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ).

Guidelines for Establishing Greenfield Investments

The Zimbabwe Investment Authority (ZIA) is the country’s investment promotion body set up to promote and facilitate both foreign direct investment and local investment. It is the prime investment promotion body that deals with “Greenfield Projects,” that is, investments into new projects.

The investor has a variety of options to set-up operations in the country. The most form of limited liability company is private company limited by shares. The Companies Act [Chapter 24:03] administers various companiesand Cooperatives Societies Act [Chapter 24:05] governs cooperatives in Zimbabwe.

Business Registration Process

Zimbabwe introduced several reforms that resulted in streamlining business start-up process. The following are the registration procedures;

Table 3: Business Registration Process

  Step Turnaround Time
1. Company registration

File MOU and Articles of Association with the Registrar of Companies, CR6 & CR14 Form. Online name search.

2 days
2. Zimbabwe Investment Authority Licencing

·    Lodge application through ZIA 1 Form which can be downloaded on ZIA website.

·    Attach primary company registration documents, brief business plan, CVs for Directors/ shareholders.

2 days
3. Immigration Control Department

·    Application for investor and temporary employment permits

5 days
4. Registration with Zimbabwe Revenue Authority for Tax Purposes

·    Registration for PAYE, Income Tax, VAT, Customs Duty

 

3 days
5. Environment Management Agency

·    Only for projects which requires Environment Impact Assessment Licence e.g. mining, manufacturing and infrastructure development.

NB. Provisional approval is granted upon submission of application

 

Guidelines for investing into Existing (Brownfield) Investments

The RBZ through its Exchange Control Division, administers and facilitates foreign investments into existing entities and operations, also known as Brownfield investments. Such investments, largely take the form of dilutions, mergers and acquisitions, rights issues, cross-border investments and restructuring. All these investments require specific Exchange Control approval.

Foreign investors may invest up to 100% in unlisted companies for existing projects and Exchange Control permission is granted for such investments. These applications are in respect of foreigners investing into existing local enterprises not listed on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE).

Applications for Exchange Control approval of Brownfield investments are submitted through Authorised Dealers (banks) for onward submission to the Reserve Bank.The turnaround period for approving such investment proposals is 2 days.

Guidelines for investing in the Money Market

Foreign investors may subscribe for up to 100% of primary issues of bonds provided the purchase is financed by inward transfer of foreign currency through normal banking channels.

There is no limit on the level of participation by each investor, who are free to dispose of their investments in the secondary market. The foreign investors are also free to buy and sell bonds in the secondary market.

However, the Reserve Bank requires that investors provide proof of transfer of funds through normal banking channels. Disinvestment proceeds are freely remittable without prior seeking Reserve Bank approval.

Foreign investors are free to purchase any other money market instrument offered by banks without seeking prior Reserve Bank approval.

Guidelines for Investing on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange

The Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE) provides an alternative avenue for Foreign Portfolio Investment (FPI) injection into the local economy through the stock market. There are various active counters listed on the ZSE from various sectors of the economy including mining, agriculture, tourism, services and manufacturing.

Such a wide range of share offerings provides foreign investors with a choice of sectors to invest in. Some counters on the ZSE have dual listings, which entitles them to listing on other foreign Stock Exchange markets. Foreigninvestors willing to participate on the ZSE are required to observe the regulations regarding purchase and sale of securities.

Guidelines for Investing in Special Economic Zones

The Government is in the process of implementing Special Economic Zones (SEZs) which were ushered in by the promulgation of the Special Economic Zones Act [Chapter 14:34] in October 2016. The country’s SEZs are focussed towards value addition and exports generation and the prioritised sectors include agriculture, manufacturing, mining, tourism, services and information communication technology (ICT).

All investment proposals into the SEZs are considered by the Special Economic Zones Authority.

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Guidelines for Provision of External Loans

The country seeks to access external loans at sustainable prices to support the productive sectors of the economy. Foreign investors wishing to lend funds to local borrowers are free to do so in line with existing Exchange Control Guidelines on External Borrowing (ECGEB).

The country’s external borrowing guidelines seeks to promote the provision of long term financing by external lenders as the pricing of the external loans rewards lenders providing long term financing to the country as follows:

Table 4: Pricing of External Loans

(All charges per annum except L/C Confirmation fees)

 

Tenor
1 Year and less Between 1 year and 2 years Between 2 years and 5 years Between 5 years and 9 years Above 9 years
Margin Above Reference Rate of up to (p.a) 6.00% 7.00% 8.00% 9.00% 10.00%
Commitment Fees (Only for committed lines) 1.00% 1.00% 1.00% 1.00% 1.00%
TOTAL MARGIN 7.00% 8.00% 9.00% 10.00% 11.00%
L/C Confirmation Fees (per quarter) 1.5% 1.5% 1.5% 1.5% 1.5%
TOTAL FOR FLAT FEES 4.00% 4.00% 4.00% 4.00% 4.00%

 

Tobacco financing, shareholder loans and notional vendor finance have a different pricing model which is as follows:

Table 5:  Pricing of External Loans for Tobacco Financing, Shareholder Loans &  Vendor Financing

(All charges per annum except L/C Confirmation fees)

 

Tobacco Pre/Post Export Finance
All shareholder loans, Including vendor financing loans
Margin Above Reference Rate of up to (p.a) 5.00% 5.00%
Commitment Fees (Only for committed lines) 0.50% 0.50%
TOTAL MARGIN 5.50% 5.50%
L/C Confirmation Fees (per quarter) 1.50% 1.50%
TOTAL FOR FLAT FEES 4.00% 4.00%

 

For ease of administration and to enable timeous drawdowns by borrowers, all external loans of up to USD20 million are processed at bank level and those above USD20 million are approved by the Reserve Bank in line with the external borrowing guidelines.

In order to provide comfort to the external lender, the Reserve Bank allows borrowers to securitise their external borrowings with immovable property, securities, minerals and plant and equipment. However, such securitisation arrangements would require prior Reserve Bank approval.

Priority Areas of Investment

Zimbabwe’s remarkable resource and diversified economy makes it an attractive destination for investment. The priority areas of investment include mining, manufacturing, agriculture, tourism, ICT and infrastructure development.

Mining Sector

Mining is the major attraction of the country with over 60 international tradable minerals. Zimbabwe has the second highest deposits of platinum in the world. Major mineral belts include: The Great Dyke belt (PGMs, chrome, gold etc.), Coal fields include Beitbridge–Gokwe-Hwange belt and Marange diamond fields.

The following Table presents the top 9 minerals in the country and their estimated resources;

Table 6: Top 9 Minerals in Zimbabwe

  Mineral Estimated Resource
1. Gold 13 million tonnes
2. Platinum 2.8 billion tonnes
3. Chromite 930 million tonnes
4. Coal 26 billion tonnes
5. Nickel 4.5 million tonnes
6. Diamonds 16.5 million tonnes
7. Iron Ore 30 billion tonnes
8. Copper 5.2 million tonnes
9. Coal Bed Methane Largest known reserves in Southern Africa, exploration work ongoing.

Source: Ministry of Mines and Mining Development

Foreign investorsare free to invest in the mining value chain which include provision of finance and technical services, exploration, extraction, logistics, beneficiation and value addition.

Foreign investors are allowed to own 100% shareholding for mining operations in all other minerals except for platinum and diamonds which the foreign investor is expected to jointly own with the Government on a 49/51% basis in favour of the Government.

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Manufacturing Sector

The sector is well diversified and possesses strong linkages with other productive sectors of the economy. Opportunities for investment in the manufacturing sector presents themselves in form of joint ventures and/or strategic partnerships in companies under Industrial Development Corporation and other private sector companies. The diversified industrial base provides potential investors with a number of investment opportunities, some of which are;

Table 7: Investment Opportunities in the Manufacturing Sector

Sub-Sector Description
Textile industry Zimbabwe produces one of the best cotton in the world and great opportunities exist for value addition.
Meat Processing Canning of beef and poultry represents a major investment area, the country has lucrative export markets in the region, Europe and the Far East.
Canning of vegetables and fruits Canning of vegetables and fruits creates backward linkages with agriculture. Currently exports are unprocessed and great opportunities exist for value addition and processing.
Motor Vehicle Assembling & Manufacturing Joint venture investment opportunities exist such as the manufacture of buses, fuel-efficient vehicles and manufacture of spare parts locally.
Chemical Manufacturing There is potential for investment in the manufacture of chemicals, both Basic and Speciality chemicals, Pharmaceuticals and Health Care Products most of which are currently imported using the scarce foreign currency reserves.

 

There is excess capacity in the industry, thereby presenting immense opportunities for investors to establish new and resuscitating existing operations.

The Government is eager to dispose of part of its shareholding which it holds through Industrial Development Corporation of Zimbabwe (IDCZ). Some of the specific investments that the Government has prioritised for partnerships are as follows;

Table 8: Specific Manufacturing Projects Ready for Investments

  Project Name Details
1. Sable Chemical Industries Coal-Bed Methane Fertilizer Project

 

 

[An investment opportunity for a joint venture project with existing shareholders]

 

Bankable Feasibility Study for the manufacture of nitrogenous fertilizers from Coal Bed Methane (CBM) gas undertaken.

The project entails manufacture of:

330,000 tonnes of Ammonia per annum

200,000 tonnes of Ammonium Nitrate per annum

400,000 tonnes of Urea per annum

A capital injection of US$900 million is required to kick-start the project for construction and procurement of equipment, and other required materials.

2. Industrial Development Corporation of Zimbabwe (IDCZ)

 

Sunway City Industrial Park Development

 

[One of the designated Special Economic Zones]

The company owns a 1,592 hectare land bank for developing an eco-friendly world class integrated residential, commercial, industrial, institutional and recreational park.

Investment opportunity exists for the co-development of the land bank to provide required infrastructure and dilution of IDCZ to the extent of the level of investment.

IDCZ is looking for financial partners who can provide lines of credit to finish off the construction of four incomplete factory shells at Sunway City. The estimated cost to completion is US$14 million. 

3. IDCZ

 

Zimbabwe Glass Industries (ZimGlass) - Container Glass Manufacturing

[Equity participation into existing entity & provision of loans]

ZimGlass seeks Financial and Technical partners for rebuilding of a container glass manufacturing electric furnace (G1 Furnace) at its factory in Gweru.

The furnace can produce (on its present super-structure) 110 tonnes of glass per day.

The estimated cost of rebuilding the furnace is US$22 million.

Pre-feasibility has already been undertaken. 

4. IDCZ

 

Sale of shares in Chemplex Corporation Limited

 

[Equity participation in an existing entity (Brownfield investment)]

 

 

Chemplex Corporation owns 6 subsidiaries – ZimPhos, Dorowa Mine, GD Haulage, Chemplex Marketing, G & W Industrial Minerals and Chemplex Animal and Public Health (CAPH).

The company also has three associated companies which are Zimbabwe Fertilizer Company, Sable Chemical Industries and Allied Insurance.

ZimPhos is the country’s sole producer of phosphate fertilisers, aluminium sulphate for municipal water treatment, sulphuric acid and other industrial chemicals.

Chemplex Marketing imports a wide range of chemicals for the mining, plastics, food and other industries.

Chemplex Animal and Public Health manufactures cattle dips and other formulated veterinary products as well as some public health products.

Dorowa Mine mines magnetite used on coal mines and phosphate rock which is crushed and transported to ZimPhos plant for the whole value chain beneficiation process by GD Haulage.

Zimbabwe Fertilizer Company granulates phosphate compounds from ZimPhos into various compound fertilizers.

Sable Chemicals manufactures hydrogen and nitrogen and converts these to ammonium nitrate fertilizers.

Allied Insurance is into short term insurance.

5.  

IDCZ

 

Sale of 49% stake in Stone Holdings (Pvt) Limited to potential foreign investors.

[Equity participation in an existing entity (Brownfield investment)]

Stone Holdings is owned by Finstone SARL (51%) and the Industrial Development Corporation of Zimbabwe Limited (49%).

It has subsidiaries which are ZimRock International, Quarrying Enterprises and Minaco.

ZimRock International’s main business is that of processing dimension stone into slabs using its cutting and polishing plant located in Ruwa, Zimbabwe.

Quarrying Enterprises is 55% owned by Stone Holdings and is in the business of quarrying dimension stone and supplying it to both ZimRock and for export.

Minaco is also wholly owned by Stone Holdings and adds value to the slabs by cutting them to customer specifications, for kitchen counter tops and cladding for the construction industry.

An investment opportunity for an equity partner of strategic fit into Stone Holdings is being sought to replace IDCZ which is disposing of its 49% stake in the company.

 

6. Multi-Fruit Juice and Avocado Processing

[Equity participation as a Greenfield investment]

Zimbabwe produces a variety of fruits such as banana, mango, guava, avocado, citrus and pineapple into juice concentrates, fruit pulps, fruit nectars and essential oils.

Manicaland Province of Zimbabwe produces annual output of over 160,000 tonnes of different types of fruits where less than 20% of the output is either sold as fresh or processed into value added products.

There is only one juicing factory in Zimbabwe which mainly produces orange juice while the rest of the juice concentrates are imported.

Opportunities therefore exist in processing the varieties of fruits for the Zimbabwe market as well as the export market.

A proposal for a multi-fruit processing investment project is available to process banana, mango and guava, citrus and pineapple in Zimbabwe into juice concentrates, fruit pulps, fruit nectars and essential oils.

The feedstock is already in place and markets have been identified.

The estimated cost of the project is US$27 million.

Source:Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Enterprise Development

 

Agriculture Sector

Agriculture is the mainstay of the economy and it provides vertical and horizontal linkages to other economic sectors. It is also a source of the much needed agro-based raw materials.This sector is strongly linked with other major sectors of the economy, as it provides the much needed agro-based raw materials.

Foreign investors are free to invest in the sector through contract farming arrangements. Opportunities include provision of financial and technical services, greenhouse production of vegetables and flowers, fruits production, livestock production, dairy farming, tobacco farming, soya beans production and many others. 

Table 9: Investment Opportunities in the Agriculture Sector

Sub-Sector Description
Tobacco Is among the country’s major foreign currency earners, accounting for about 15% of the total exports earnings. Given the high quality that the country is renowned for tobacco processing presents another potential investment area.
Cotton Opportunities for value addition and beneficiation in this sector exist. This is in view of the fact that the country exports 70% of its cotton output as cotton lint, which can be further processed before being exported.
Timber Extraction and processing also presents investment opportunities for furniture manufacturing.

 

Sugar milling There is potential in the by-products of sugar milling e.g. electricity generation, ethanol for blending petrol and molasses for stock feeds.

Source:Ministry of Finance & Economic Planning

Tourism Sector

Zimbabwe has vast tourist attractions ranging from natural to man-made historical sites. These includes Victoria Falls, Lake Kariba, The Great Zimbabwe National Monument, Scenic Beauty Eastern Highlands, Matopo Hills and Wildlife. Opportunities for investment in this sector exist in the following areas:

  1. Hotel and Catering Industry
  2. Safari and tour operations
  3. Gaming
  4. Construction of international convention centres
  5. Production of animal documentaries

Infrastructure Development

The provision for good infrastructure is a pre-requisite for achieving economic growth and development and also for enabling other sectors of the economy to function smoothly.

Investment potential exists in the expansion and modernisation of existing infrastructure as well as the construction of new infrastructure such as modern highways and associated tollgates linking key cities, power generation, dam construction, water reticulation, budget hotel chains in the tourism industry etc.

Opportunities in infrastructure development exists in the public sector. Some of the projects include;

Table 10: National Power Generation Projects Ready for Investors

PROJECT TITLE PROJECT DESCRIPTION
ENERGY
Gokwe North Thermal Power Station (Sengwa) Construction of a 1400 MW Thermal power station at the Sengwa coal field.

Gokwe North Transmission and Distribution Network

Gwayi Thermal Power Station Development of an integrated 2.4 million tonne/year coal mine and 600MW thermal power station in Gwayi.
Western Area Power Plant Construction of a 1200MW Thermal Power Station including Transmission works.
Lupane Coal Bed Methane Construction of 2 Gas Turbine units of 150 MW each
Mini Hydro Power Stations Construction of Gairezi (30MW) mini hydro power station.
Construction of Mutirikwi (5MW) mini hydro power station.
Construction of Manyuchi (1.4MW) mini hydro power station.
Construction of Osborne (5MW) mini hydro power station.
Construction of Duru (2.3MW) mini hydro power station.
Small Thermal Power Stations Upgrading of Harare, Bulawayo and Munyati thermal power station-replacement of industrial coal fed boilers with those that use other types of coal.
Transmission & Distribution  Networks Rehabilitation and upgrading of transmission &distribution networks.
Solar Energy Construction of  a 100MW solar plant in Gwanda

Source: Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning

Dam Construction

Foreign investors are welcome to enter into Public Private Partnerships (PPPs) such as Build Operate & Transfer (BOT) and Build Own Operate & Transfer (BOOT) in the construction of the following dams; 

Table 11: Investment Opportunities in Dam Construction

  Province Project (Dams)
1. Mashonaland Central ·    Semwa, Bindura, Nyatana, Mazowe-Nyagui and Dande
2. Mashonaland East ·    Chipara, Chivhu, Muda, Kunzvi and Musami
3. Matabeleland South ·    Tuli-Manyange
4. Midlands ·    Connemara, Shavi, Lubongo and Kudu
5. Manicaland ·    Chitowe, Conde and Aberfoley
6. Masvingo ·    Runde-Tende
7. Matabeleland North ·    Ziminya

Source: Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning

Privatisation Of Selected Parastatals

Currently the Government owns various parastatals across the economic sectors. In order to enhance efficiency of these Government entities, the Government is in the process of working out modalities on how to dispose part of its shareholding to the private sector.

In this regard, foreign investors should take advantage of this window of opportunity that is presenting itself. Some of the entities to be privatised are lucrative and are key to the country’s turnaround strategies.

Taxation System In Zimbabwe

The following are the current investment tax provisions offered by the Government;

Table 12: Current Tax Provisions

Type of Tax Rate
Income Tax 25%
Capital Gains 20%
Dividends 10/15%
Value Added Tax 15%

 Taxation on Mining Royalties are payableper mineral as follows;

Table 13: Mining Royalties per Mineral

Platinum 10%
Diamonds 15%
Gold- small scale miners 3%
Gold- other miners 5%
Precious Stones 10%
Other precious stones 4%
Base metals 2%
Industrial metals 2%
Coal bed methane 2%
Coal 1%

Available Incentives to foreign Investors

Zimbabwe is striving to incentivise investors in a manner that promotes industrial growth and development. Specific fiscal incentives in the form of corporate tax available include;

Build Own Operate and Transfer (Boot) or Build Own Transfer (Bot) Arrangement:

First 5 Years 0 %
Second 5 Years 15 %
Industrial Park Developer
Before 5th Year Of Operations 0 %
After 5th Year Of Operations 25 %
Special Economic Zones Licensed investor
First 5 years 0 %
After 5 years 15 %
Special Mining Lease 15 %
Pension Funds 15 %
Tourist facility in approved Tourist Development Zone
First 5 years 0 %
After 5 years 25 %
Manufacturing of a company which exports
between 30% to 41% 20 %
above 41% to 51% 17.5%
above 51% 15 %

Duty Exemptions

  • The Government allows for duty exemptions in the following areas;
  • imported capital equipment
  • importation of raw materials used in the manufacture of goods for export.

Value Added Tax (VAT)

Exemption from VAT for a variety of products that include agricultural produce, raw materials for further processing, goods used in the production of agricultural, mining, industrial or manufactured products etc.

Notes

15% corporate tax is applied for the first five years of operation in road, bridge and sanitation or water facility construction

15% corporate tax for special mining lease operations. Losses are carried forward indefinitely for mining operations

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Fiscal Incentives into Special Economic Zones

The Government is offering a variety of incentives in the Special Economic Zones and foreign investors should take advantage of these fiscal and non-fiscal incentives on offer. The incentives include the following;

Table 14: Fiscal Incentives on Offer into Special Economic Zones

Incentive Area Actual Incentive
Corporate Tax Zero-rated Corporate Income Tax for the first 5years of operation and corporate tax rate of 15% thereafter.
Customs Duty on Capital Equipment Duty free importation of Capital equipment
Special Initial Allowance

 

Special Initial allowance of 50% of cost from year one and 25% in the subsequent two years
Employee’s Tax

 

Exemption from Non-residents tax on fees on services that are not locally available.
Non-Residents Withholding Tax Exemption from Non-residents tax on Dividends, Fees and Royalties
Capital gains tax Zero rated for Capital gains tax.
Customs Duty on Raw Materials

 

Inputs which include raw materials and intermediate products imported for use by companies set up in the SEZs be imported duty free. The duty exemption will, however, not apply where such raw materials are produced in Zimbabwe.
New Clean Technologies Importation of clean technologies, those that pre-treat effluent, solid waste and emissions to the Blue and Green Bands should be imported duty free in order to promote the use of environmentally friendly technology.

Source: Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning

Table 15: Non-fiscal incentives for foreign investors into Special Economic Zones

Incentive Area Actual Incentive
Work permits for Expatriates

 

Automatic work permits for expatriates for investments above USD50million

5 working days processing period of work permits for investment below USD50million

Residence Permits Automatic Residence Permit for investment above USD50million

5 working days processing period for investment below USD50million

Water and Energy Supply Dedicated Power and Water Supply for companies operating in Special Economic Zones

A package of incentives for investors producing own power

Source: Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning

Security Of Investment

Zimbabwe guarantees investment security to all investors in line with international best practices. To this end, Zimbabwe is a signatory to a number of bi-lateral and international agreements which include the following Investment Protection Agreements:

  • Overseas Private Investments Corporation (OPIC) and Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA)
  • International convention on settlement of Disputes (ICSID)
  • New York Convention on the enforcement of arbitral awards
  • United Nations Convention on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL)

Furthermore, Zimbabwe has ratified Bi-lateral Investment Treaties (BITs) with Denmark, Germany, Netherlands, Swiss Federation, Yugoslavia, China, South Africa and Russia.

BITs awaiting ratification include those with Botswana, India, Iran, Kuwait, OPEC Fund, South Korea, Mozambique, Malaysia,Singapore, Thailand, Egypt, Austria, Croatia, Czech Republic, France, Indonesia, Italy, Jamaica, Kuwait, USA/OPIC,Portugal, UK and Mauritius and are awaiting ratification.