flag Zimbabwe Zimbabwe: Investing

In this page: FDI in Figures | What to consider if you invest in Zimbabwe | Procedures Relative to Foreign Investment | Investment Opportunities


FDI in Figures

FDI flows to Zimbabwe are far below the country's potential. According to the UNCTAD's World Investment Report 2023, FDI inflows amounted to USD 342 million in 2022, up by 36.6% on the year but still significantly below the pre-crisis level (USD 745 million in 2018). In the same year, the total stock of FDI reached USD 6.5 billion, around 19.7% of the country’s GDP. FDI is mainly directed towards the mining sector (diamonds, gold, nickel, platinum), infrastructure, the wood industry, health care, water and sanitation, financial services, tourism, manufacturing and agriculture. China is the first investor in Zimbabwe. Russia, Iran and India are also important investors in the country. Data from the Zimbabwe Investment and Development Agency (ZIDA) show that the country attracted USD 8 million in announced projects in 2023, the majority of which were directed to the mining and energy sectors.

In 2020, the Zimbabwean government established the Zimbabwe Investment and Development Agency (ZIDA) to streamline and facilitate investment, both domestic and foreign, as a single point of contact. Zimbabwe offers incentives such as tax breaks for new investments by foreign and domestic companies, full tax deductibility for capital expenditures on new factories, machinery, and improvements, as well as waiving import taxes and surtaxes on capital equipment. Although progress has been made in reducing regulatory costs, policy inconsistency and weak institutions continue to pose challenges for businesses. Corruption remains widespread, and property rights, especially concerning agricultural land, are inadequately protected, with instances of land expropriation without compensation. While foreign and domestic private entities have the right to establish and own businesses and engage in remunerative activities, foreign ownership in certain sectors such as passenger transport, employment agencies, milling, advertising, dairy processing, and real estate is restricted. Zimbabwe screens FDI through the Zimbabwe Investment and Development Agency (ZIDA), collaborating with relevant line ministries to ensure adherence to national laws and regulations. The country ranks 117th among the 132 economies on the Global Innovation Index 2023, 149th out of 180 in the 2023 Corruption Perception Index, and 172nd out of 184 on the latest Index of Economic Freedom.

Foreign Direct Investment 202020212022
FDI Inward Flow (million USD) 194250342
FDI Stock (million USD) 5,9086,1586,499
Number of Greenfield Investments* 5915
Value of Greenfield Investments (million USD) 2201,5815,218

Source: UNCTAD - Latest available data.

Note: * Greenfield Investments are a form of Foreign Direct Investment where a parent company starts a new venture in a foreign country by constructing new operational facilities from the ground up.

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What to consider if you invest in Zimbabwe

Strong Points
Zimbabwe's strong points in terms of attracting FDI include:

- abundant mineral resources (platinum, gold, diamond, nickel);
- agricultural wealth (maize, tobacco, cotton);
- potential for tourism development;
- membership of the Southern African Development Community (SADC);
- normalisation of relations with the international community.

Weak Points
The factors hindering foreign investment in Zimbabwe include:

- economic and financial situation hit by a long period of hyperinflation;
- shortage of cash;
- under-investment in infrastructures (especially energy infrastructure);
- precarious food and health situation: the majority of the population depends on international aid;
- AIDS prevalence rate among the highest in Africa and in the world.

Government Measures to Motivate or Restrict FDI
While the government of Zimbabwe has implemented since 2009 a number of measures designed to attract foreign direct investment (FDI), many of its macroeconomic policies, such as the indigenization and economic empowerment laws, acted as significant deterrents. Following recent political changes, the new government amended indigenization, or local ownership laws, to reduce the restriction to only the diamond and platinum sectors; other sectors are now open to unrestricted foreign ownership. Moreover the government has announced its commitment to improving transparency and removing corruption.

Zimbabwe’s incentives to attract FDI include tax breaks for new investment by foreign and domestic companies and allowing capital expenditures on new factories, machinery, and improvements to be fully tax deductible. The government also waives import taxes and surtaxes on capital equipment. Tax inventives may be obtain in certain sectors such as pharmaceuticals, energy, construction, agriculture and mining. To learn more about inventives for investment, please visit Zimra website.
Bilateral Investment Conventions Signed By Zimbabwe
Zimbabwe has signed 32 bilateral agreements. For more details, please see the UNCTAD website.

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Procedures Relative to Foreign Investment

Freedom of Establishment
Although Zimbabwe law guarantees the right to private property, in practice the government often does not respect this right. In fact, in recent years the government has seized thousands of farms and private conservation sites without following due process or provide compensation.

Government involvement is necessary for any new investment in strategic sectors such as energy, public water supply and railways.

The government further reserves certain sectors such as passenger busses, taxis and car hire services, employment agencies, grain milling, bakeries, advertising, dairy processing and estate agencies for Zimbabweans

Acquisition of Holdings
While there is a right for foreign and domestic private entities to establish and own business enterprises and engage in all forms of remunerative activity, foreign ownership of businesses in the diamonds and platinum sectors is limited to 49 percent (or less in certain reserved sectors).
Obligation to Declare
Zimbabwe does not have an online registration process. The Zimbabwe Investment Authority (ZIA) is the country's investment promotion body set up to facilitate both foreign direct investment and local investment. The country encourages companies to register with ZIA and the process currently takes 90 days.
Competent Organisation For the Declaration
Zimbabwe Investment Authority (ZIA)
Requests For Specific Authorisations
Anyone running a trade or the business of selling or renting goods or merchandise must be licensed by a competent local authority.
Factories are required to have a license showing compliance with certain health & safety and environmental requirements. Tourism operators must be registered with the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority. Other areas require a specific license, such as publishing, banks, mining, insurance companies and telecom operators.

For more information, please visit Zimbabwe Investment Authority website.

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Investment Opportunities

Investment Aid Agency
Zimbabwe Investment Centre
Tenders, Projects and Public Procurement
Africa Getaway, Tenders in Africa
DgMarket, Tenders Worldwide
Other Useful Resources
Zimbabwe Revenue Authority
Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce

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Latest Update: May 2024