Zimbabwe courts Korean investors

Harare mayor Bernard Manyenyeni (left), South Korean Ambassador to Zimbabwe Cho JaiChei and Principal Director in the Ministry of Energy and Power Development, Engineer Steven Dihwa (right) listen to contributions during the Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency (KOTRA) and the Zimbabwe Investment Authority-organised conference on Friday

Zimbabwe is courting investors from South Korea who have expressed interest in mining, manufacturing and power generation projects among other sectors.

The seven-member delegation representing South Korean companies based in South Africa, is in the country scouting for investment opportunities. Their visit to the Southern African country was facilitated by the Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency (KOTRA) and the Zimbabwe Investment Authority.

Among the notable companies scouting for investments are, Hyundai Corporation, M-Tech that is the second largest producer of power cables in South Africa, Doosan Heavy Industries and Construction, Samsung among others.

In a speech read on his behalf at the Korea-Zimbabwe Energy Investment Seminar on Friday, Energy and Power Development Minister Dr Samuel Undenge, said there are massive opportunities for Koreans to invest and the resources are abundant.

“Our Government has embarked on various programmes to strengthen energy security for the country. This includes demand side management programmes, energy efficiency programmes as well as boosting energy production from thermal and renewable energy sources.

“Government has for example banned use of incandescent light bulbs and electric geysers as a way of saving scarce energy supply. There is an opportunity for Korean investors to also tap into manufacturing of light bulbs,” said Dr Undenge.

South Korea Ambassador to Zimbabwe Cho Jaichel, told the seminar that he is amazed by Zimbabwe’s great potential and its highly educated human capital. He said Korea can be the best partner to Zimbabwe and the Ambassador also promised more opportunities for Korean companies to meet Zimbabwe firms.

“We need to build mutual trust and take a more practical, open and long term approach in order to strengthen the economic cooperation between our countries in a sustainable manner.

“We must take into account the economic hardships Zimbabwe is now facing and find a more practical and reliable way to overcome those hardships and create momentum for sustainable economic development. In this case, I believe Korean companies can be the best partners to Zimbabwe,” said Ambassador Jaichel.

KOTRA Africa director general Lee Seung Hee, expressed concern at the decline in trade between Zimbabwe and Korea.

KOTRA is an agency established to contribute to the development of national economy by performing work such as trade promotion, investment between domestic and foreign companies and support of industrial technology co-operation.

Mr Hee said the companies that make up the delegation are really serious in scouting for investment due to vast resources that Zimbabwe offers.

“Trade between Zimbabwe and Korea has been on the downside and we have decided to come with this delegation of Korean companies based in South Africa to scout for investment in Zimbabwe. This country has vast opportunities,” said Mr Hee.

The Korean firms are interested in infrastructure, mining, ICT, education and agriculture.

Mines and Mining Development Permanent Secretary Munesushe Munodawafa, noted that there are a lot of investment opportunities in energy minerals. On the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation Coal Bed Methane gas concessions of Gwayi-Lupane, they are still looking for suitable Investors for Joint Venture partnering in project development for CBM exploration, development and beneficiation hence an opportunity for Koreans.

Government is also looking for investors in the mining of CBM gas in the Lupane Lubimbi area.

“We have a very friendly royalty regime in place, with gold attracting 5 percent, diamonds 15 percent, base metals 2 percent and coal 1 percent. A variety of incentives exist for the mining investor, including lower corporate tax rates of 25 percent with 15 percent applicable on Special Mining Leases, indefinite carry-over of tax losses, rebate of duty on importation of capital equipment and 100 percent remission of dividends,” said Mr Munodawafa. Lithium and graphite mining also falls under other energy minerals, which the Koreans can exploit.

This can be driven by the rising demand for lithium and graphite on the world market.

The Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority chief executive Gloria Magombo told the seminar that the Korean firms can also tap into energy generation projects as there is massive opportunities there.

She said there are also opportunities in the setting up of mini-hydro power stations and the legislation has not been tough on small players. – Herald

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