Zimbabwe’s President renames wealth fund after ancient kingdom

by Victor Adetimilehin
Zimbabwe's President

Zimbabwe’s President Emmerson Mnangagwa has renamed the country’s Sovereign Wealth Fund of Zimbabwe (SWFZ) to Mutapa Investment Fund, according to a government gazette published on Wednesday.

The SWFZ was established in 2014 as a state-owned investment fund that would manage the country’s surplus revenues from natural resources, foreign currency operations, privatisation proceeds and fiscal surpluses. The fund was created to promote economic development, stabilise the economy and support future generations.

The new name, Mutapa Investment Fund, is derived from the Mutapa Empire, also known as the Monomotapa Empire, which was a medieval kingdom that spanned parts of present-day Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Zambia and Botswana from the 15th to the 19th century. The empire was known for its trade, wealth and culture, especially its gold mining and architecture.

The name change was made through a statutory instrument issued by the president under his presidential powers. The instrument also established a board to administer the fund, consisting of a chief executive officer, a chief investment officer and eight members appointed by the president after consulting the finance minister.

The instrument also gave the fund the power to transfer funds into and out of Zimbabwe without restriction or delay in a freely convertible currency, subject to paying all tax obligations. The fund was also vested with the shares held by the government in several companies listed in the gazette, which include mining, banking, telecommunications and energy firms.

The president may amend the list of assets held by the fund by notice in a statutory instrument, after consulting the board.

The name change comes as Zimbabwe is facing a severe economic crisis, characterised by high inflation, low growth, chronic shortages of foreign currency, fuel, electricity, water and basic commodities. The country is also struggling to repay its external debts, which amount to over $8 billion.

The government has been implementing various reforms to revive the economy, such as currency reforms, fiscal consolidation, monetary policy tightening, debt restructuring and re-engagement with international financial institutions.

However, the reforms have been met with resistance from some sections of the society, who accuse the government of mismanagement, corruption and human rights violations. The opposition and civil society groups have also called for political dialogue and reforms to address the root causes of the crisis.

The government has expressed its commitment to continue with the reforms and to improve the livelihoods of the people. It has also appealed for patience and support from the international community and the private sector.

The renaming of the wealth fund is seen as a symbolic gesture by the president to invoke the legacy and pride of the Mutapa Empire, and to inspire confidence and hope in the future of the country.

Source: News Day

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