HARARE – Zimbabwe’s business confidence index (BCI) went up in the fourth quarter of 2017, the first time this has happened since it was introduced in 2015. The BCI, which ranges from -100 to 100, measures business optimism or pessimism about the prospects for companies.
The index prepares managers to anticipate, position for and act on growth phases, booms or slow down in performance. In the fourth quarter of 2017, the BCI stood at 5.8 quarter on quarter basis and 22.9 percent for the year on year.
“This indicates improved confidence and optimism of business leaders regarding the economy. This is the first positive result we have found since the inception of the index,” said CZI president, Sifelani Jabangwe.
On its launch in 2015, the BCI was at -33.9 on a quarter on quarter basis and -37.2 on an annual basis. Jabangwe said the taking over of a new government in November last year and policy directions that it and the Reserve Bank announced as well as re-engagement with the international community inspired confidence.
“To maintain confidence and improve the situation in industry, implementation of the stated policies and strategies should commence immediately. Further delay will result in reduced confidence in the coming period,” he said.
Jabangwe warned of the deteriorating situation regarding the supply of raw materials given the backlog in foreign currency payments, which is estimated at around $600 million.
Meanwhile, the CZI is set to sign a memorandum of understanding with Confindustria Assafrica Mediterraneo, the industry body representing Italian businesses during its visit to the European country set for February 21 to 23. The MoU seeks to deliberately encourage and facilitate trade and investment between the two countries.
It will cover areas including facilitating industrial and technological collaboration, cooperation on organisation of exhibitions and trade fairs. Italy is one of the major suppliers of equipment to the local industry. Zimbabwean ambassador to Italy, Godfrey Magwenzi said the country was a major player in Africa, and now the third largest investor on the continent.
“The visit will create opportunities to interact with Italian companies which are suppliers of some of the best equipment in the world,” he said.
Magwenzi said while trade between Zimbabwe and Italy remained skewed in favor of the European country, the government was working on strategies to reverse the trend. – New Ziana