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SA and Zim seal investment protection agreement

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SA and Zim seal investment protection agreement

27th November 2009

By: Creamer Media Reporter

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South Africa and Zimbabwe on Friday signed the Agreement on the Promotion and Reciprocal Protection of Investments, which was expected to create an enabling and protective environment for investments made by nationals of both countries in each other's territories.

This followed on a trade and investment seminar held earlier in the day.

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On Thursday, civil rights group AfriForum lost an application in a bid to stop the signing of the bilateral protection agreement between the two countries.

AfriForum claimed in its court application that the signing of the investment protection treaty with Zimbabwe violated its rights in terms of a ruling of the Southern African Development Community Tribunal, the South African Constitution and international law.

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South African Trade and Industry Minister Dr Rob Davies said that the two countries shared historical and cultural linkages and that the South African economy was inextricably linked to that of Zimbabwe.

He added that South African development finance institutions were considering a number of infrastructure development projects in transport, energy, telecommunications and agribusiness.

Some of the proposed new investment by the South African private sector in Zimabwe would include the agroprocessing, telecommunications, mining and infrastructure sectors, the Minister stated.

Platinum-miner, Impala Platinum (Implats) has invested about $400-million to $500-million in Zimbabwe in recent years.

Implats holds a 50% stake in the Mimosa platinum mine and an 87% stake in the Zimplats platinum mine, both in Zimbabwe.

Zimbabwean Economic Development and Investment Promotion Minister Elton Mangoma, noted that the agreement would offer companies and individuals increased security and certainty under international law when they invested 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," he stated.

Davies agreed that the signing of the agreement would go a long way in building the much-required business confidence in Zimbabwe and in the process, ensure the re-integration of Zimbabwe into cross-border projects of significance such as the Spatial Development Initiatives, which will enhance regional economic development and integration.

Meanwhile, Davies highlighted that a memorandum of understanding on economic cooperation between the two countries had been finalised and would likely be signed early in 2010.

This 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.

 

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