A Dubai-based billionaire businessman, Nawab Shaji Ul Mulk, was recently in Zimbabwe for the launching of Zim Cyber City, a cutting-edge complex in Mt. Hampden, a few kilometers north of the capital, Harare.
Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa commissioned Mulk International, a United Arab Emirates (UAE)-based industrial group to build a complex and a multipurpose high-tech park which will include the tallest building in Africa, called the Mulk Tower.
Ul Mulk stated that "we gathered with a group of businessmen that I was chairing when President Mnangagwa visited Dubai during the Expo. We also had conflicting opinions about the business climate in Zimbabwe, but after hearing the president's persuasive comments, our group decided to visit and see for themselves”.
He added, "I must admit that, by far, Zimbabwe differs from how the world media has portrayed it. The government of this country has implemented a number of measures that genuinely aid in attracting foreign investment. For instance, we now have access to a special economic zone that permits unrestricted investment."
Zimbabwe has struggled to attract significant foreign investment in the past two decades due to economic and political instability. During the latter stages of Robert Mugabe’s rule, Zimbabwe introduced a number of business indigenization policies that made many foreign businesses relocate to other countries.
However, the current government led by Mnangagwa is desperate to bring in foreign investors. Many foreign investors still regard Zimbabwe as a very risky place to invest in because of the economic and monetary policy inconsistencies. The current business climate is making it very difficult to run a business, and many domestic companies have closed. This lack of investment has led to high unemployment in the country.
Mr. Mulk believes that his company’s presence in the country will greatly benefit the locals. He stated that "I believe that any initiative you undertake, especially one of this scale, would strengthen the local economy and give the locals more influence. Jobs will be generated, and the investment we are making is also a for-profit block chain venture."
The businessman expressed his desire to change how foreign investors and the international community view the landlocked country of Southern Africa, which has endured decades of economic collapse and hyperinflation. "We intend to dispel the image that doing business in Zimbabwe is difficult".
According to the Herald newspaper, the cyber metropolis will span 2.5 million square meters of land and include a mall, opulent homes and apartments, offices for the cyber technology industry, and other public amenities.
The building of a new city in Mt. Hampden by the Zimbabwean government has been underway, though progress has been slow. The coming of foreign investors in the country, such as Mulk International, is likely to speed up the process.