International gong for Diaspora housing project.

A local property development initiative, which was formed by Zimbabweans based in Washington, United States of America, won an international award in Dubai last month for the best residential development in Zimbabwe, it has been learnt.

The firm, Comfort Creek, has sunk more than $2,5 million in its first development at Leander Villas in Bulawayo’s low-density suburb of Hillside.

Comfort Creek’s CEO Mr Pedzi Makumbe said the business was formed as a conduit to funnel investments to Zimbabwe.

The gong from the International Property Awards, he said, recognises the highest levels of excellence by property development companies around the globe.

“We are grateful for the support we received from both the national and local governments to make this project a success. Not only did it enable us to bring foreign currency into the country, it also enabled us to bring in the best of international practices and designs into the local market, and this is fundamentally good for everyone” said Mr Makumbe.

Government is actively trying to mobilise investment and expertise from the Diaspora in order to give traction to local economic growth.

Estimates suggest that there are three million to four million Zimbabweans living in the Diaspora. Independent surveys claim that about 60 percent of Zimbabweans living outside the country are willing to invest back home.

It is believed that while significant efforts are being made to lure large investors back into Zimbabwe, small Diaspora investors – the majority who have middle-income jobs in their countries of residencies – can make a major contribution to the economy as well.

Government is presently being urged to consider various incentives such as tax breaks in order to increase investments from abroad.

Last week, Finance and Economic Development Minister Professor Mthuli Ncube said the Diaspora community should take the ongoing reform of State-owned enterprises as an opportunity to invest.

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