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Ziscosteel, Chinese investors and Zimbabwe’s poor record for negotiating investment deals

Anderson Chiraya, an official in the Office of the President and Cabinet, earlier this year revealed why the government always fails when negotiating big deals: others bring their experts to the table, while Zimbabwe sends in politicians.

“During negotiating for such deals, some partners came with a barrage of lawyers, while on our part, there may be a minister and the permanent secretary only and if they do not understand, we get a raw deal,” Chiraya told a group of journalists in May.

“Yet the other parties come with lawyers and people that are well versed.”

If this latest “mega deal” interest in Zimbabwean steel is to deliver something real for a change, something will have to change in the way the government negotiates deals on resources.

Even in its desperation, the government has to make sure it carves out a deal that benefits Zimbabwe.

Until then, the pack of baboons will remain at Zisco’s HR office, the desperation of former workers will deepen, and the pile of rust that is Zisco will remain standing, a stark monument to the government’s failure to act while it could.

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