Investing in Zimbabwe is risky but it could be worth it


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Q-What criteria do you look at when making an investment?

A-We are quite restricted in our mandate. We look for fast-growing companies in four jurisdictions: Zimbabwe, Malawi, South Africa and Zambia. We don’t do primary agriculture, mining, oil and gas, or big telecom projects.

Our first criterion is that we look at management. That is a very important key requirement as we are not majority owners and a good working relationship where all partners are aligned, is critical.

For Zimbabwe, a key question remains how to get your money out of the country after investment. Over the last three years the challenge has been uncertainty around a framework for investments into the country. There are excellent businesses in Zimbabwe, with skilled people and great management.

Secondly, if you are to still invest in the country, you would have to look at businesses that have little foreign debt on their balance sheet. We also look at companies that have been in business for at least the last ten to fifteen years, because if you worked yourself through this difficult period, it means the business has great skills.

Very importantly, you should consider investing in businesses that are exporting and earning US dollars.

Having said all that, you never know in Zimbabwe. There is still a risk. But it could sometimes be worth it.

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Charles Rukuni
The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.

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