Zimbabwe's sovereign wealth fund has called for international investments in the state-owned entities (SOEs) it manages, which includes Air Zimbabwe (UM, Harare International).

Though the airline was not named, Mutapa Investment Fund (MIF) chief investment officer Simba Chinyemba appealed for international offers and investments for SOEs in the state-owned fund's portfolio. He spoke at the Zimbabwe Capital Markets and Investment Promotion Conference in London on June 12 and 13.

In an interview with The Herald newspaper, Chinyemba said Zimbabwe is open to "outright joint ventures or purchasing some of those assets if it aligns with national interests". "I can't specify which assets because it depends on our strategy. However, as we implement turnaround strategies for many of these state-owned enterprises, we are open to discussions with various investors about the way forward," he added. "MIF is open for business. We welcome investors to come to Zimbabwe. The opportunities are immense, and the perceived risk is much higher than the real risk in Zimbabwe," he added.

Chinyemba said the MIF is keen on forming partnerships. The fund would offer debt financing guarantees to private entities interested in investing in its companies. Chinyemba noted their openness to entertaining offers for some of their holdings.

"Many companies we inherited are underperforming. Our main focus over the next few years is to revitalise these assets for the benefit of the country."

Including Air Zimbabwe, the MIF's portfolio includes at least 22 companies in diverse sectors, including energy, transport, mining, banking, telecommunications, and agriculture.

Technically insolvent Air Zimbabwe faces significant financial and operational problems. Late last year, the country's acting auditor-general raised a going concern warning over USD407.8 million in losses for the financial year ending December 31, 2022 (2019 for Air Zimbabwe). The AG warned the state-owned airline's total liabilities exceeded its assets by USD380.2 million, with continued losses in 2019 of USD15.3 million.

According to ADS-B data, Air Zimbabwe currently has one B737-200, Z-WPA (msn 23677), in scheduled service on routes between Harare International and Dar es Salaam; and between Harare and Victoria Falls. Its B767-200ER, Z-WPF (msn 24867) flew three rotations between Harare via Upington (South Africa) and Goma (DRC) in late May. According to reports, Z-WPF was chartered by a South African entity, JetEx Aerospace, and, with Congolese charter startup Mont Gabaon Airlines livery, transported South African National Defence Force (SANDF) troops between Goma and Upington in support of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (SAMIDRC) mission. The SANDF has been chartering planes to transport its troops to the DRC due to a lack of suitable aircraft in its own fleet. Meanwhile, Air Zimbabwe's E145, Z-WPQ (msn 145373) previously used for transborder flights to Johannesburg O.R. Tambo, South Africa, has been stored in Harare since September 2023, ADS-B data reveals. A320-200 Z-WPN (msn 1973) remains grounded at Johannesburg O.R. Tambo and is the subject of a USD39 million ownership dispute with Isle of Man-based special purpose vehicle (SPV) SouthJet. Sister ship Z-WPM (msn 630), owned by China Sonangol International (Hong Kong International) via SPV SouthJet Two Ltd, has been stranded in Johannesburg since January 2014. In March, Air Zimbabwe issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) to sell four derelict aircraft, which include two B737-200s and two BAe 146s, along with various spare parts.

Air Zimbabwe did not respond to repeated requests for comment.