By Matabeleland North Correspondent
VICTORIA FALLS: The Minister of Finance, Mthuli Ncube, launched the Victoria Falls Stock Exchange (VFEX) here, which will start the operationalization of the Victoria Falls Special Economic Zone (SEZ).
However, only one company, SeedCo International, a seed processing company, was the only company listed with negotiations expected to start on Monday.
Ncube, who was the guest speaker, said that VFEX will be a platform for companies in SADC’s Zimbabwe, Sub-Saharan Africa, to raise capital in foreign currency and help investors to trade on the secondary market in hard currency.
The government has designated the tourist city of Victoria Falls, a center for tourism and financial services under the SEZ initiative, to attract tourists and investments through tourism.
VFEX is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE) and will trade exclusively in foreign currency targeting mining companies in Zimbabwe and the African continent, before expanding across the globe.
Foreign currency-only trade is expected to help reduce settlement risks in troubled Zimbabwe.
“The establishment of this exchange today marks the beginning of our journey towards the establishment of an offshore financial services center in Victoria Falls,” said Ncube.
“The move will be seen as laying the foundation stone for the offshore financial services center and is a cornerstone of support for efforts to raise Victoria Falls’s status as not just a special economic zone, but an offshore financial center. The launch of VFEX, therefore, will start the Victoria Falls Special Economic Zone, ”said Ncube.
He said VFEX would be a watershed in bond trading in the country, as well as a channel for portfolio investments and foreign direct investment in the rest of Africa in hard currency.
“This will reduce currency and settlement risk for our international investors. The launch of VFEX will also deal with the exchange rate risk of portfolio investment in the country.
“As the Government of Zimbabwe, we saw an opportunity to work with the ZSE to create a global platform for trading foreign currency shares and to do so in a way that promotes foreign investment in Zimbabwe and the region,” said Ncube.
He called on other accountants listed on the ZSE to have a listing on the VFEX to allow them to also obtain financing to refit and expand their operations.
The minister added that VFEX is one of the strategic initiatives implemented by the government to stabilize the economy and attract foreign direct investment to the 2030 vision.
The head of the Treasury said that investors on the VFEX platform will benefit from various tax and non-tax incentives that have been approved by the Treasury.
“Tax incentives will create significant confidence in the operation of the offshore financing center and attract capital from around the world,” said Ncube.