The Zimbabwean government recently signed and gazetted the Zimbabwe Investment and Development Agency Act (ZIDAA) and made it the law of the land. The Act is supposed to help prospective investors to easily and quickly invest into Zimbabwe without them being hindered by corruption or bureaucracy.

The government thinks ZIDAA is the magic bullet

Background to the law

It is a public secret that one of the reasons why investors have shied away from Zimbabwe is because of corruption by bigwigs. “Mega-deals” have been “inked” lots of times only to fail to materialise partly because of this.

When investors come to Zimbabwe, sometimes as a follow up to these so-called mega-deals they usually don’t know how to go about it as there is so much red tape. Most of the time they end up in the claws of some bigwig who will demand a hefty kickback in order for the “bigwig” to help finalise the investment opportunity that the investor will be looking to take part in.

So hefty are these kickbacks/shares that a lot of investors have simply fled. A famous example is that of Aliko Dangote who wanted to invest in Zimbabwe’s coal and cement industries but baulked after bigwigs tried to take advantage of him. Eventually, he just made a minuscule investment and fled but not before publicly shaming the elite involved in the practice.

How the bill aims to solve this?

The ZIDAA law aims to solve this by establishing a one stop shop where an investor can go if they want to invest in Zimbabwe. They will be furnished with all the necessary information they need, in case they are still deciding which sector they need to invest in etc.

The law calls for the creation of an agency made up of essential entities which will operate from this one-stop-shop.

The entities operating from the one-stop centre will include the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra), the Environmental Management Agency (EMA), the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ), the National Social Security Authority (NSSA), the Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority (ZERA), the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority, the State Enterprises Restructuring Agency and specialised investment units and other relevant line ministries.

Will it work?

Like most of the laws on Zimbabwe’s books, this is a good law. However, its efficacy will still rely on how the authorities implement it. There is still a chance that those operating within these shops can still be captured. Zimbabwe’s so-called cartels, led by the same bigwigs accused above, have been very robust when it comes to capturing and bending the system to their will.

It’s not clear how this can be overcome.

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