UAE’s Investment in Zimbabwe Grows with the Groundbreaking of Zim Cyber City
It’s no secret that many countries across the globe are clamoring for their piece of the action on the resource-abundant African continent. We have all heard of China’s influence and expansion into Africa, but the United Arab Emirates has also been very active in the African region. One African country, Zimbabwe, has seen a 300% increase in trade with the UAE in the past three years. The UAE is now Zimbabwe’s second largest trading partner.
On July 20, 2022, a vision of Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa was actualized. President Mnangagwa held a groundbreaking ceremony for Zim Cyber City, the first real estate investment in Zimbabwe channeled through the Zimbabwe Global Investments (ZGI) Special Economic Zone (SEZ) program. Touted as the “smartest city of our age”, Zim Cyber City will be spread over 2.5 million square feet of land and is expected to have a shopping mall, luxury villas and apartments, cyber technology offices and other facilities, to include Mulk Tower, projected to be the tallest building in Africa.
Dubai-based billionaire Mr. Shaji Ul Mulk met with President Mnangagwa at the 2020 Dubai Expo in the UAE and what followed was the vision for many future investments in Zimbabwe. Zim Cyber City is the first embodiment of this futuristic vision and Mr. Mulk promised there will be many more to come. The President’s decision to allow UAE businesses to invest in Zimbabwe will bring more investment in the future, and as President Mnangagwa stated, “Zimbabwe is open for business”.
President Mnangagwa stated that his desire is to transplant Dubai to Zimbabwe and to build a smart city even better than Dubai. Declaring that Zimbabwe will not be left behind, the President is certainly ensuring that Zimbabwe is developing a culture of continuous innovation and an environment for economic growth.
The cyber city’s goal is not only to offer economic benefits to commercial enterprises combined with lavish, uptown living, but to create an easy system for blockchain and crypto exchange companies to operate, where digital currencies can flourish. With Zim Cyber City, located in Mount Hampden, New Harare, we will witness the successful integration of blockchain and crypto technology and premium, residential living.
President Mnangagwa has granted Mulk International an exclusive license to establish a blockchain and digital assets special economic zone and investors in Zim Cyber City will benefit from the many tax and import incentives offered through the ZGI Special Economic Zone program.
Mulk International is a multinational conglomerate with diversified business interests spanning primarily four sectors – building materials, plastics, healthcare and cricket assets. For more than two decades, Mulk International has been owning and managing a group of 18 companies under the leadership of Chairman Nawab Shaji Ul Mulk.
Mr. Mulk is quite an inspirational figure himself. Mulk gave up his US dreams of going to the Wharton Business School to pursue the dream of being an entrepreneur. He once fixed films on windows in the UAE, but is now worth over $2.7 billion. He had moved to the UAE originally to save money for college and prepare for his GMAT exams. He took a job at his brother-in-law’s small company that dealt in solar panel glass covers, working in the installation department. Three days into the job, he moved from installation into sales. Within a few months he was feeding the company’s capacity 100%. Then he got into sub-contracting work and within a year had saved $30,000 to pay his college fees. A week before he was to leave for the US he asked a friend for advice. The pull of entrepreneurship was strong. He then gave up his Wharton’s admission to stay in the UAE and pursue business. His calculated risk of giving up his admission to the prestigious college has paid off in spades. Now, a man who used to clean window panes and install panel sheets on windows, who had to take various forms of transportation just to get to work every day, drives a Rolls-Royce Phantom, among other luxury cars. His company has a global annual turnover of $1.8 billion.
Mulk is a man who is not afraid to take a calculated risk. Teamed up with President Mnangagwa, the transformative project of Zim Cyber City will most certainly help Zimbabwe reach its goal of seeing an upper-middle income by 2030, giving multitudes a better life and building Zimbabwe into one of the dominant countries in Africa.