ZIMBABWE is experiencing increased inflows of foreign direct investment (FDI) projects in most provinces, at a time when the world is grappling with multiple economic challenges.
This indicates that the country “is defiantly in the middle of a bold, irreversible forward march”, according to President Mnangagwa.
Many investors such as the World Bank and International Monetary Fund are beginning to notice the resurgence.
Writing in his weekly column in The Sunday Mail this week, President Mnangagwa said many projects had registered significant progress in the country’s non-urban provinces, including Bikita Lithium (Masvingo), Muzarabani Oil and Gas exploration (Mashonaland Central), Hwange Power Station expansion and coal projects (Matabeleland North), Goromonzi Lithium and Mount Meru Millers in Mashonaland East.
Lithium deposits in Manicaland were also expected to attract investment soon.
He expressed satisfaction with progress at Manhize in Mvuma where Chinese firm Dinson Iron and Steel Company (Disco) is setting up Africa’s largest steel processing plant, whose impact will be felt in the three provinces of Midlands, Mashonaland West and Mashonaland East.
The project will create up to 20 000 jobs through cross-cutting industries and a new city powered by steel.
“Not less than 20 000 jobs will be created downstream. Billions will be saved through the substitution of steel imports; many more billions will be earned by way of exports.
“Above all, with steel locally available, the Zimbabwean economy is set to transform from light to heavy industries capable of manufacturing capital goods and materials needed in large infrastructure,” said the President.
Mashonaland East’s vast deposits of high-grade iron ore at Manhize, he added, are enough to last the next 200 years.
The Manhize plant is poised to create thousands of jobs, with 600 people already employed at the site.
Total workforce projected will exceed 3 000 when the project is fully operational.
Soon after the first phase, Disco will produce 1,2 million tonnes of steel.
A new railway line running from Manhize to Mvuma and a dam will be constructed along the Munyati River, impacting resettlement areas through irrigation.
“In respect of the whole economy, steel companies, which folded in the wake of Zisco’s collapse, will resurrect from the graveyard. New steel projects altogether will also come on stream, turning Manhize into a buoyant steel sector.
“The impact downstream is vast, with a mini-city set to sprout from what until now has been a swathe of virgin land bordered by a mountain range.”
Turning to lithium, President Mnangagwa said Zimbabwe possesses one of Africa’s largest reserves that are almost certain to attract suitors.
“Only two weeks ago, I was in Bikita, Masvingo, where a Chinese investor, Sinomine, has taken over operations of that key lithium asset which was almost going dormant,” he said.
“Output has grown tremendously and an exciting expansion programme Zim on irreversible forward march: President
“In Insiza District, Matabeleland South, a project on lithium and tantalum is set to commence, thanks to a financial facility secured from China. Zulu Lithium will change both Matabeleland South and Bulawayo, again buoying the GDPs of both provinces.”
Works have already started to mine lithium in Goromonzi.
Deposits in Shava, Manicaland Province, also position the country as a major role in the global shift to clean energy.
“Lithium is key to that shift, placing us in enviable space. Not too far from Shava, in the northeast direction, is Dorowa Phosphates Mine, whose activities are now expanding in line with our goal to achieve national self-sufficiency in fertilisers for our agriculture.
“Sable Chemicals near Kwekwe in the Midlands Province is expanding in sympathy so our ammonium nitrate needs for agriculture are met locally. We are set to ride the bumpy road of disrupted global supply lines related to the war in Eastern Europe. Significantly, our wheat target for this season is well in sight, likely making us self-sufficient for the first time in our country’s history.”
Further, drilling works are expected to start soon in Muzarabani, Mashonaland Central, with preliminary surveys showing that there could be vast gas and oil deposits, he said.
“Huge rigs are coming in to start the drilling programme, which should make us noticeable globally as a supplier of energy.”
On agricultural value addition and beneficiation, the President said more projects will be set up in rural areas to spur rural industrialisation.
“Last week on Wednesday, I commissioned Mount Meru Millers in rural Seke, again in Mashonaland East. This project manufactures edible oils. It is important not just in itself, but for what it portents by way of our goal of agro-driven rural industrialisation.
“Farmers, big and small, are set to feed into the hungry milling plant through an out-grower programme which the investor is ready to sponsor. This initiative is sure to change the face of agriculture, as has happened in 15 other African countries where Mount Meru Millers operates.”
These projects, he added, show that a lot is happening in the economy despite the illegal sanctions unilaterally imposed on Zimbabwe.
“Not many see these developments which are unfolding beneath the common gaze, and certainly beyond flippant headlines. Yet this is a great story which we are slowly but surely writing, in spite of illegal sanctions which were designed to break us.”
He reiterated that through the engagement and re-engagement drive, Zimbabwe would pursue economic sovereignty and remain a friend to all and enemy to none.
“We thus should not hesitate to push frontiers of friendship in all directions of the globe.
“Our interests select our friends. No nation, however strong and mighty, chooses friends or dictates enemies for us. We respect all races, nationalities, peoples and nations of the world.” – Sunday Mail