Pretoria - South Africa and Zimbabwe have signed an agreement which will create an enabling and protective environment for investments made by nationals of both countries in each other's territories.
The Agreement on the Promotion and Reciprocal Protection of Investments was signed in Harare on Friday, following a Trade and Investment Seminar between business people from the two countries.
The Zimbabwean Minister of Economic Development and Investment Promotion, Elton Mangoma, explained that the agreement would offer companies and individuals increased security and certainty under international law when they invest or set up a business in other countries party to the agreement.
"The reduction of the investment risk flowing from the agreement is meant to encourage companies and individuals to invest in the country that concluded it. Allowing foreign investors to settle disputes with the host country through international arbitration is an important aspect in this context," said Mangoma.
South African Minister of Trade and Industry, Dr Rob Davies, said that the two countries shared historical and cultural linkages, and that South Africa's economy was inextricably linked to the Zimbabwean economy.
The minister said the South African development finance institutions such the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) were further considering a number of infrastructure development projects in transport, energy, telecommunications and agribusiness.
Some of the new proposed investments by the South African private sector in Zimbabwe would, amongst others, include the agro-processing sector, telecommunications, mining and infrastructure.
Further to this, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Economic Cooperation for the two countries has been finalised and is expected to be signed early next year.
Davies said the MoU would ensure that there was coordinated engagement, in terms of the private sectors from both countries, and cooperation in terms of institutional strengthening and capacity building.
The signing ceremony was also attended by the Zimbabwean Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara, other cabinet ministers, business people from both South Africa and Zimbabwe, and senior government officials.