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Shunned by the West and China, Zimbabwe turns to UAE

As the country’s economy continues to free fall.
Emmerson Mnangagwa at the opening day of the 28th World Economic Forum on Africa. Image: Waldo Swiegers/Bloomberg

Sanctioned by the West and spurned by China, Zimbabwe has turned to the United Arab Emirates in its latest bid to find a saviour that can arrest the collapse of its economy.

Zimbabwe’s government has approached the UAE in hopes of selling a stake in its national oil company, according to three company and government officials familiar with the plan. It also wants companies in the UAE to buy more of its gold, they said.

Read: Manhunt for a biology teacher; Zimbabwe’s shame

President Emmerson Mnangagwa has said UAE investors will build solar plants in Zimbabwe, and UAE President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan a year ago issued a decree to open an embassy in Zimbabwe. Dubai also contributed to relief efforts when Zimbabwe was hit by a cyclone last year.

Zimbabwe’s economy is in free-fall: It likely contracted by more than 6% last year, according to government estimates. Half the population is in need of food aid, inflation is running at over 500% and its currency has depreciated by more than 90% against the dollar since a 1:1 peg was abolished in February last year.

“They need investment desperately,” said Jee-A van der Linde, an economic analyst at NKC African Economics in Paarl, South Africa. “It’s been snowballing. I don’t know where it’s going to end up. I don’t know how that would be appealing for the UAE”

Oil companies in the UAE said they were unaware of the interest.

The UAE’s foreign ministry didn’t respond to requests for comment.

The UAE is not the only country Mnangagwa has targeted for potential investment. Since taking power from Robert Mugabe in a November 2017 coup, he has crisscrossed the globe repeating the mantra ‘Zimbabwe is open for business.’ Two trips to Russia and former Soviet republics revived interest in a platinum project and a fleet of second-hand Belarusian buses now ply the streets of the capital, Harare.

By May 2019, investment pledges worth $27 billion had been announced in projects ranging from steel mills to abattoirs. There’s little evidence that they are being developed.

A visit by Wang Yi, the Chinese foreign minister in January ended with only pledges of further infrastructural projects being carried out by China. There was no mention by the “all-weather-friend” as Zimbabwe likes to describe China, extending any financial bailout.

Zimbabwe wants to sell a stake of as much as 25% in the National Oil Infrastructure Company of Zimbabwe, the people said, declining to be identified as the plans haven’t been disclosed.

NOIC owns storage depots at the port of Beira in neighbouring Mozambique as well as five locations in Zimbabwe. It also owns gas stations and the pipeline that brings oil products from Beira to Mutare for companies including Puma Energy BV, in eastern Zimbabwe.

Fuel shortages

Zimbabwe is prone to frequent shortages of motor fuel and sees a relationship with the UAE, possibly through the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company, as a way of securing supply, one of the people said. The southern African nation consumes 1.4 million liters of gasoline and 2.5 million liters of diesel daily, according to the Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority.

“We are working toward establishing a permanent arrangement with friendly countries and that also includes the UAE,” said Fortune Chasi, Zimbabwe’s energy minister, declining to comment directly on whether Zimbabwe had approached the UAE

© 2020 Bloomberg L.P.


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As Richard Quest (CNN) said in a Davos interview re SA “…there’s no point in coming here to say, ‘Invest, invest, invest in me if you haven’t got the policies worthy of it’.”

Mr Mnangagwa, first get your policies worthy of investment! (…and perhaps watch more CNN)

Nope… Its not a policy issue… They need Zanu PF to step aside, to relinquish control… not going to happen, but fact of the matter is that this is the only move that will save Zim…

Once the sanctioned entities and individuals no longer run the show, the sanctions will end and they can start rebuilding from a neutral position instead of as a pariah.

Rebuilding will NEVER be possible.

In their haste to get rid of the “Previously advantaged” after independence they forgot that whoever you replace them with needs training. On the job training that has nothing to do with a piece of paper from an university. Even the best university can not make up for training from someone that know the job. The current finance minister and his widely publicized achievements is a case in point.

The “previously advantaged” have now gone leaving behind a workforce that will never be trained. NEVER. Who will train them?

SA has done the same and the effect is becoming clearer by the day. CR said they will not deploy anymore “Unqualified” people. To him “qualified” means a piece of paper. Now who will train the person with the piece of paper. The untrained person the never even had a piece of paper????

The shortsightedness in Africa seems to be in the DNA.

To anyone still living in SA, this is kind of what Ramaposa sounds like when he says, ” come invest in SA”, “were targeting x million billion in foreign investment by 2200”

I don’t think any of them actually mean “invest” as we, and many in the first world, understand it. Zim and SA’s ZANU PF and ANC respectively mean “we will sell you infrastructure and assets paid for by the taxpayer for a low price provided you cut us in on some loot deposited in Panama, Cayman Islands, Dubai etc”. Suckers.

Zim is running out of friends….SA is going the same way.

Hahah yes, funny that no?

” arrangement with friendly countries ” you Zimbo running out of idiots on the blue marble.. perhaps they should look to outer space

and Zimbo “continues to free fall”, so is SA, on thesame path of least resistance promoting “progressive” ideals above realism by proliferating incompetence

As my mother saw on a signboard at the side of a road when leaving Umtali for SA in 1980: –

“Will the last person to leave Rhodesia kindly switch off the lights”.

Ironically, Zim now has no lights to switch off.

Should have read ‘will the last person to leave BLOW OUT THE CANDLES’. Thanks to that monument to transformation, Eskom, we are almost there in this country.

And meanwhile the contribution from SA is still quiet diplomacy and open borders.

Zimbabwe is the neighbour no one wants to have. A bully who abuses their own children, borrows money constantly from you and never pays it back. Spends the money booze, smokes and weekends at the casino. Borrows your lawn mover, then claims it’s their lawn mover and keeps it. A month later the lawn mower is rusting in pieces on the porch and the grass is 3 feet tall.

Thinks IOU slips can be used to pay back loans and then wants to borrow more. Constantly runs out things, like sugar, flour, milk, bread, porridge, potatoes but always seen smoking and drinking. Nothing works in their yard: Rusted car on blocks, garage door is missing. Roof is leaking and missing tiles/sheets. Pain peeling off and plaster cracking. Some window panes broken.

I can only feel sorry for Dubai.

China or Russia never gives money or investments for free, they take something for money. Only the West gives money away.

They worse than the west…. But then again…. I’ll judge u by the friends u keep.

@ Hachmet – Yes excactly, and Zim has nothing left to take. A politician’s nightmare!

No-one gives out money for!

Ace, Squirrel et al, best you start making friends with the West

You have put this country on the road to destruction, much like your comrades up north did with theirs. It all started with one thing:

*BEE (Reverse segregation and retribution) The abyss we find ourselves in is DEEP and DARK

Pray, whom amongst you will be able to pull us out of the hole when your Government isn’t the solution but the problem?

Any answers?

How to repair investment confidence when you destroyed property rights? A farmer could buy a farm, build it up and in 20 years time history could repeat itself. Why take the massive risk?

Zimbabwe should look to the UAE – especially look for the secret bank accounts in UAE housing stolen funds!

Currently Zimbabwe’s main export is Uber drivers and waiters in the South African market; it is a sad state of affairs. We do have some business dealings there and the situation is dire. At some point something has to give

Goodluck with that. (New overloads – .

Lesson for SA! What are those investment pledges Squirrel Ramaphosa “secured” for SA really worth? I’ll tell you – About as much as the pledges and promises from our government to tackle corruption, stop stealing and start behaving like public servants. It means nothing. ANC is hellbent on being served by the public. Keep telling everyone everything is fine. Lets see if it turns out better for you, Cyril, than it did for your revolutionary brother Emmerson. Funny if not so sad, but here comes the chickens…..

Dear Mr Mnangagwe: There’s a certain Jacob Zuma – Mzanzi’s erstwhile president – who might be able to help – he’s now retired. He and his family have lots of friends with lots lolly in Dubai. Maybe still some left in India. Give him a call. And if you need some help on miracle economic cures, there is a chap called Julius Malema we can volunteer. A great fan of your previous leader and Venezuela’a leader both of whom had wonderful economic concepts of how to run a country (into the ground perhaps, but like North Korea, the idea is to keep trying and eventually you might succeed – one way or another). Yours insincerely.

It amazes me how MW publishes controversial stories and constantly deletes my comments.
Oh and have readers noticed how they have not published anything of Magnus since Oct 2018 ?

End of comments.





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