Benefiting from the improved investment climate: Mutsvangwa

The Chronicle

Africa Moyo and Prosper Ndlovu in Dubai
FOREIGN investors should take advantage of the improved investment climate to seize the various investment opportunities available in Zimbabwe in the mining, agricultural, tourism, manufacturing and media sectors, the Minister of Information, Advertising and Broadcasting Services, Monica Mutsvangwa.

Speaking at the Zimbabwe-Dubai Media Day and networking event at the ongoing Expo 2020 Dubai in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Minister Mutsvangwa said Zimbabwe had significantly refreshed its climate of investment since the arrival of the Second Republic in 2017, hence the need for investors to seize opportunities.

To attract international investment in the media sector, she said the government embarked about three years ago on a deliberate initiative to repeal all media regulations and laws that were preventing the sector from performing effectively fulfill its information dissemination mandate.

“So we opened up the airwaves for more broadcast players to come into the business and break the decades-long monopoly of the state broadcaster, the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC), and essentially we were able to revolutionize the media sector,” Minister Mutsvangwa said.

“We now have more newspapers, private radio and television stations, including community radio stations and campus radio stations than ever before.

“Yet there is still a lot of investment to be made in this area. It is in this context that we now invite investment in the media industry, as the liberalization of the sector has created immense opportunities for doing business.

Minister Mutsvangwa said she was confident that yesterday’s engagement would help increase the opportunities offered by the media sector in Zimbabwe.

His ministry, through the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ), has so far licensed 14 community radio stations and seven campus radio stations, as well as completed some digital terrestrial television projects, which are now awaiting approval. to be put into service.

“These require capital outlays in terms of broadcast equipment, studio sets and technical expertise, all of which provide significant profitable returns on investment.

“We have authorized six private television channels and three public channels. A private 3K TV station is already broadcasting on DSTv channel 293,” Minister Mutsvangwa lamented.

“In this area, there is now a huge appetite for content, on which investors can capitalize and reap huge returns. the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (Aippa) replacing it with three stand-alone bills dealing with the right to information, the protection of privacy and the creation and operation of the Zimbabwe Media Commission.

“It largely guarantees the right to information, freedom of expression and freedom of the media as enshrined in Articles 61 and 62 of the Constitution,” she said.

The Zimbabwe Media Commission Act was then enacted in April 2021 and the ministry is currently working on the Media Professionals Bill, which is expected to encompass media governance or regulation, providing for the registration of media houses. press, accreditation of journalists and a framework for disciplining media professionals who breach a code of conduct applicable to them.

“It is in this spirit that as a government we believe, working with our media industry, has created an enabling environment in which the media can express themselves freely without any fear or favour,” the minister said. Mutsvangwa.

She said the reforms should help open up the sector to investment in the various areas of print, broadcast and digital media.

“There are opportunities in print media anchored in newsprint. At the moment, our media houses import all newsprint and we believe this is an area investors can take advantage of,” said Minister Mutsvangwa.

In the broadcasting sector, Minister Mutsvangwa said it was all about technology, especially as Zimbabwe migrates from analogue to digital.

She said Zimbabwe’s media sector is a lucrative industry in which investors should consider investing.
“So I implore you all to come out and partner with our stakeholders.

There is so much our sector can borrow and adapt from your already established media sectors. Our President ED Mnangagwa has repeatedly reminded us that Zimbabwe is open for business and that is why we are here today.

“We hope to have direct investments and/or possible joint ventures,” Minister Mutsvangwa said.

The Acting CEO of the Zimbabwe Investment Development Agency (Zida), Ms. Duduzile Shinya, also presented the investment opportunities available in Zimbabwe such as mining, agriculture, tourism and media.

She said the type of investments includes public-private partnerships (PPPs), special economic zones (SEZs) and general investments where an investor does not need to partner with the government or any other entity, for example when applying for television licenses and other areas.

A number of reforms such as granting foreigners 100% of their businesses, liberalizing the airwaves, introducing a currency auction system and setting up commercial courts to quickly resolve disputes have been instituted.

BAZ Head of Legal and Licensing, Miss Joyce Kupukai, said there are more opportunities for investment in the media sector, especially now that Zimbabwe has all levels of broadcasting, which is the public, commercial and community broadcasting.

The 2001 African Broadcasting Charter encourages governments to adopt the three-tier system to ensure that no community is left behind.

Ms Kupukai said Zimbabwe has gone a step further by licensing tertiary institutions that provide journalism and media studies so that learners have an idea of ​​what the future holds.

The CEO of Zimpapers (1980) Limited, Mr. Pikirayi Deketeke, said that the media environment in Zimbabwe was lucrative as evidenced by the growth of their business over the past few years.

He said of a newspaper in 1890, Zimpapers now has 12 newspaper titles including The Herald and Chronicle, radio stations and a television license.

Mr Deketeke said Zimpapers’ television channel, ZTN, would be available on digital terrestrial television (DTT) and satellite anytime between next month and May.

Additionally, Zimpapers, which issued 576 million shares, was a profitable company that declares dividends to its more than 600 investors at least twice a year.

A UAE-based media expert, Ms. Sona Nambiar, said from the presentations made that Zimbabwe’s media sector appears to be rich and diverse.

She said media managers must constantly check the operating environment to check the relevance of newspapers in the face of the rise of technology.

However, Ms Nambiar has called for regulation of social media to ensure they tell the truth.

Various government officials, including Zimbabwe’s Ambassador to the United Arab Emirates, Lovemore Mazemo, the Commissioner General of the Expo 2020 Pavilion in Dubai, Ambassador Mary Mubi, heads of parastatals and the Chairman of the Board of administration of Zimpapers, Dr. Tommy Sithole, and the Managing Director of ZBC, Ms. Adelaide Chikunguru, foreign investors and the Ambassador of Angola to the United Arab Emirates, Mr. Albino Malungo, attended the media day and the networking event.

Meanwhile, Minister Mutsvangwa visited the Zimbabwe pavilion and said she was impressed by the number of visitors flocking to assess the country’s products and business opportunities.