Zimbabwe has the potential to attract increased investment and developmental funding from the Arab world, but massive efforts are required to market the country's investment potential, says Foreign Affairs Minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi.

He told Zimbabwean media representatives on the sidelines of the 4th Arab-Africa Summit here Tuesday that Zimbabwe had to exploit the Arab world's interest in Africa.

His assertion follows the approval by the Kuwait Fund for Arab Development of funding amounting to 35 million US dollars for Zimbabwe to implement an intensive citrus irrigation project in Beitbridge in Matabeleland South Province.

He said the funding was part of the 3.0 USD billion pledged by Kuwait at the 3rd Arab Africa Summit for developmental projects in Africa. On top of that, Zimbabwe has also been granted funding to construct two hospitals, with 1.0 million USD already disbursed to commence preparatory works.

"The potential is there, what is required now is to cultivate that potential because so far this investment has been by the government of Kuwait but we would want to see more private companies in the Arab world come to invest in the various areas of our economy," he said.

He added that other potential areas of co-operation included agriculture, mining and development of infrastructure. "The areas of possible of co-operation are absolutely without limit. We should show them that Zimbabwe is a country worthwhile to come with their investment," he said. "We expect a lot of interest to be generated in the Arab world towards investment in our country."

Mumbengegwi said Zimbabwe was working hard to improve its investment climate, citing the recent passing of the law to establish Special Economic Zones.

"We really have to go out of our way to engage the governments in the Arab world as well as the private companies in the Arab world to explain to them the potential that the country has and our policies which encourage foreign investment. We really have to step up our efforts in terms of marketing ourselves," he said.

Meanwhile, Mumbengegwi said the Heads of State and Government summit opening on Wednesday would discuss various issues including fostering closer co-operation in various political, economic and social fields.

President Robert Mugabe is in Malabo to attend the summit.

"Africa has an abundance of natural resources whether be it agricultural, mineral, areas of energy and so the potential for development and the potential for investment in Africa is absolutely

enormous," said Mumbegegwi.

"In the Arab world they are endowed with considerable natural resources which have generated billions of dollars in that part of the world they have also been able to develop their countries technologically. So here we have a situation of two regions of the world that are not very far apart."

The summit is being held under the theme, "Together for a sustainable economic development."