Zimbabwe have expressed mixed feelings over visiting Nigerian billionaire Aliko Dangote’s pledges to invest billions of his wealth in a country condemned as an investment risk.
Opposition politicians were adamant African’s richest man would not blindly pour in cash into a dysfunctional economy plugged by political instability, corruption and recurrent power outages.
Similarly, ordinary Zimbabweans took to social media to question how an astute tycoon in the mould of Dangote would consciously invest a generous chunk of his riches in a country with no regard for property rights.
Leading the assail was former finance minister and now MDC Renewal Team president designate Tendai Biti who insisted Dangote was way too smart to squander his fortune in a comatose economy.
“Dangote is a smart man that I know at a personal level,” Biti told NewZimbabwe.com Tuesday.
“He is not going to pour billions into an economy that is as dysfunctional, as dishonest and as broken down as that of Zimbabwe.”
Biti said Zimbabweans should not read too much into comments made by the billionaire he had already made his mind towards investing in the country.
He urged the Zanu PF government to attend to broader economic issues to expand the cake as opposed to opening the gates for a single investor.
“We have to fix the economy so that we are able to attract investors from all corners of the world,” he said.
“The Indigenisation and Empowerment Act has to be repealed and it will affect him (Dangote) anyway because he is a foreigner.”
MDC-T spokesperson Obert Gutu also wrote on his personal Facebook page that Dangote would not readily plunge a penny into an economy ridden with corruption.
“Aliko Dangote is a very smart and shrewd entrepreneur. He will never invest in a corruption – infested, lawless country. Just forget it,” Gutu said.
Media rights activist and political commentator Nhlanhla Ngwenya also felt the current government was out to placate a restless population by projecting Dangote’s intended investment in billions.
“YES the guy is rich, and YES he has pledged to invest in Zimbabwe,” Ngwenya said, adding, “But claiming he will pour in ‘billions’ is typical feel-good propaganda that Zimbabweans have been fed on but continue to see their lives deteriorate. Millions, could be closer to reality.”
But a senior private media journalist who preferred not to be named for professional reasons felt Dangote was a businessman cut from a totally different cloth.
“There are other investors who argue that this is the right time to invest in Zimbabwe,” he said.
“They feel that once the current problems which are mainly anchored on the politics of the day are resolved one day, it would be very difficult to come in.
“Dangote could as well belong to that group.
“You could see the enthusiasm he exuded soon after meeting President Mugabe and his ministers.”
The scribe said Mugabe, who wants to be seen as a pan-Africanist, would be reluctant to unnecessarily mess the Nigerian tycoon up.
Dangote’s high profile visit to the crisis-weary country was covered in screaming headlines from the state media with top government officials, among them Jonathan Moyo, celebrating the deal.
Source : SunOnline