Switzerland is committed to make Zimbabwe an attractive foreign investment destination through the Swiss-Zimbabwe Business Chamber (SZBC) and intends to see the business environment in the country changing.
This was revealed by the Swiss Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Niculin Jager in a speech after the appointment of a new SZBC board in Harare last week.
Ambassador Jager said it was crucial that the business environment in Zimbabwe, as a country going into the globalised market, had to align its regulations with international standards, adding it was key for all the line ministries of concern to ensure the legislative work currently under way was done urgently.
Economic sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe by the USA, UK and other European Union member countries had left the country in isolation, which the Second Republic is trying to address through its re-engagement and engagement efforts.
“So from the business chamber, it’s very key and they are going to be part of this discussion and they want to discuss it and make it more attractive to invest in Zimbabwe and change the perception of Zimbabwe as an investment destination,” he said.
He said the relationship between Switzerland and the Second Republic had strengthened politically and economically since 2017.
Ambassador Niculin noted that the election by the general assembly of a new board on the Swiss-Zimbabwe Business Chamber, was a sign of the commitment of Switzerland and its companies to secure their leading role as the biggest European investor in Zimbabwe.
“Swiss companies are very resilient and they go for the long-term investment, they are not interested in quick profits. They are interested in investing in a long-term perspective, creating jobs, pay their taxes, and create new opportunities and new businesses. That’s why they also have this resilient approach when it comes to economic challenges, financial challenges to currency challenges that we have seen in the past
He said the newly announced expanded Board of Directors would help to foster a vibrant business community and enhance the deepening political and economic relations between Switzerland and Zimbabwe.
SZBC is a business platform which was launched in 2021 to strengthen bilateral trade and investment ties between the two countries as well as serving as a platform of exchange for members and other interested parties in both government and business.
The new five-member board comprises of Raphael Curiger of Pure Africa, Luke Gomes, who is the Managing Director of Nestlé Zimbabwe, Karen Chawatama of Roche Products Pvt Ltd, Nigel Drummond of Swiss Bioceutical and Geoffery Ndungwa, the Managing Director of Lafarge Cement Zimbabwe.
In a statement, the Swiss embassy said the chamber would play a significant role in the facilitation of trade between Zimbabwe and Switzerland and was also a testament of the increasing ties between the two countries.
“The Swiss-Zimbabwe Business Chamber has announced a new expanded Board of Directors in order to foster a vibrant business community while serving as a champion, convenor, and catalyst for economic vitality between Switzerland and Zimbabwe,” said the embassy.
“With Switzerland being one of the leading European investor in Zimbabwe, the board members of the Business Chamber will play a significant role in promoting the trade relationship between the two countries going forward.
The new board was also expected to support the economic development, cooperation with various players including small to medium enterprises, multinational companies and the Government of Zimbabwe in marketing the country and the engagement policy.
On behalf of the new Board, Raphael Curiger said they were excited to see more engagements being facilitated between Zimbabwe and Switzerland and expressed optimism in the country’s economy which he said was “beginning to pick up”.
“We also had two departures from the board which we are replacing. We have a great sense of excitement as things are beginning to pick up in Zimbabwe and its encouraging for us especially in the tourism sector and we hope that this momentum will be reflected and taken up in the context of the Swiss Zimbabwe Business Chamber as well. We want to facilitate that Switzerland and Zimbabwe do more business together going into the future,” Curiger said.