One of the very worst places to be over the past years is Zimbabwe. Comrade Bob (as Nelson Mandela would sarcastically refer to him) has run the country into the ground, and is responsible for who-knows-how-many deaths.
As I'm posting this late Monday evening US east coast time, the BBC is reporting delays in reporting election results since the polls have closed Sunday. This suggests Mugabe and his thugs are in the process of stealing yet another election.
Zimbabwe is perhaps the prime example of frontier investing markets -- places requiring a stronger stomach and greater tolerance for risk than traditional emerging markets.
Yet Zimbabwe has been drawing interest of such investors recently, as you can see from this Bloomberg report and this one from Reuters. The fact that Comrade Bob is well into his 80s, combined with the country's assets and literate population, undoubtedly plays a leading role in the interest.
You've read about Lonrho PLC here previously. I don't own it, but I might at a lower price. The linked Reuters story mentions it in connection with Zimbabwe:
Lonrho's investment arm, LonZim, recently announced plans to raise around $140 million on London's Alternative Investment Market for the purchase of assets in Zimbabwe, hoping to "benefit from any radical future improvement of the economy over the longer term," according to its Web site. It has bought a listed Zimbabwean telecommunications company and a chemicals manufacturer for less than $6 million.
It will be interesting to see how investors into the country make out -- in both the short and longer term. Right now we have to wonder if voting delays in Zimbabwe will end up delaying the nation once again becoming the "breadbasket of Africa."