FRANCE’S ambassador to Zimbabwe, Richard Boidin has implored French companies to make long-term investments and has promised to draw more investors to Zimbabwe.
Speaking at the French National Day, popularly known as the Bastille Day, last week, Boidin implored French companies to invest in agriculture.
“Based on [our] solid bilateral relationship, we will encourage them to work in three directions,” he said.
“First, I am encouraging French businesses, especially in agriculture. It is our main objective to make long-term investments in the country.
“I want to thank Seedco, Limagrain the two sister companies, one is French, the other is Zimbabwean and Lesaffre, the leader of yeast production in Zimbabwe and, maybe, tomorrow in southern Africa.”
Limagrain and Lesaffre recently injected $40 million and $18 million in local Seedco and Anchor Yeast, respectively.
Boidin said he is willing, in the coming months, to invite more French companies to invest in Zimbabwe.
“Because they are effectively demonstrating that we, the French, believe more than ever in Zimbabwe’s future,” he said.
“In the coming months, we will attract more French companies due to guarantees from the Zimbabwean authorities that these investments will be protected.”
Last year, Zimbabwe slipped four places to 161 on World Bank’s ease of doing business ranking, despite the country undertaking a number of reforms.
Policy inconsistency, endemic corruption and violation of property rights continue to spook investors.
As a result, Zimbabwe, in 2016, attracted $351 million in foreign direct investment, down from $421 million the year before.
In January 2015, a business delegation from France led by the French business organisation, Movement of the Enterprises of France (MEDEF) spent four days in Harare.
The visit saw 10 major French companies, with a total turnover of $1 billion, meeting President Robert Mugabe, government officials and captains of industry.