Saturday, May 23, 2009

Nordic funds consider Zimbabwe investments

A TECHNICAL team from the four Nordic Development Finance Institutions arrived in Zimbabwe this week to scout for investment opportunities.
The visit by the technical team from development funds in Demark, Norway, Sweden and Finland, is a follow up to the March tour by the two ministers from Norway and Denmark.
Norway's Environment and International Development Minister Erik Solheim. Solheim's visit was on how Norway could help the new administration find a better footing.
Danish Minister for Development Cooperation Ulla Tornaeas came in March on how Copenhagen would assist Harare in paying its civil service.
The Nordic Development Finance Institution-that is government owned investment funds-invest in private sector in developing countries.
Head of the delegation Kjartan Stigen told Bistandsaktuelt that: "The motivation of the visit is that the private sector development creates development. There is growing evidence of a business business environment emerging in Zimbabwe."
The team comprises Mr Jaakko Kangasniemi from Finnfund, Ms Lena Algerin from Swedfund in Stockholm, Mr Kim Gredsted from IFU of Denmark, he is based in South Africa, and Stigen, from Norfund, based in Oslo.
Together these 4 development finance institutions at year end 2008 had a portfolio of 2.2 billion US dollars.
"This is a fact finding mission from the funds to assess the economic situation and the environment for investments, including the level of reforms being implemented and the durability of these changes," Stigen said.
Delegations started arriving last Sunday and some jetted in on Monday and the team immdediately looked at possible investments into Zimbabwe and meet bankers and executives of some Zimbabwe Stock Exchange listed blue -chip companies.
The team held meetings with Finance Minister,Tendai Biti; Economic Planning and Investment Promotion Minister,Elton Mangoma; and Industry and Commerce Minister Welshman Ncube.
The team leaves Zimbabwe on Saturday and will write recommendations to their respective governments.
Norfund has two joint ventures: one to work with the energy sector in developing countries and the other to establish and manage local and regional development funds.
Norfund structures joint ventures with struggling firms in the developing countries. It exits when the firms are on a sound footing.
Norfund commenced operations in 1998 and receives its investment capital from the Norwegian government on an annual basis.
It was created to become a leading investment fund for emerging markets by combining a strong financial position with high-quality investment management skills and extensive international experience.
The Norwegian Embassy in Harare said: "The team came on their own and we have nothing to do with them. But I can confirm that we know they are here."

By John Mokwetsi

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