THE Government’s mining reforms have been recognised by organisers of the globally reputable Mines and Money Conference after becoming the only nominee in the Most Improved Mining Jurisdiction of the Year Award Category.
The nomination of Zimbabwe as the only African country among a host of other major mining jurisdictions such as Saudi Arabia, Canada and the United Kingdom is a major feat that attests to the praises that of late have been showered on the country as a lucrative investment destination for those seeking real returns in the mining sector.
Recent examples include New York Stock Exchange-listed Caledonia Mining Chief Executive Officer Mark Leamoth, who revealed in July that they will continue to invest heavily at its Blanket Gold Mine in Gwanda, citing Zimbabwe as their permanent home for future growth prospects, having acquired another mining asset Bilboes to catapult it to a 200 000 ounce per annum mining house.
Johannesburg Stock Exchange listed Implats Chief Executive Officer Nico Muller, whose primary asset is platinum miner, Zimplats along the Great dyke, recently noted that Zimbabwe is their best bet for future growth having last year announced a US$1.8 billion mine plan.
Mines and Mining Development Minister, Honourable Winston Chitando said this prestigious nomination is by no means an accident and speaks volumes of Zimbabwe’s investment climate.
“President Emmerson Mnangagwa set the US$12 billion mining sector target by the year 2023 and that immediately jolted us into action which brought reforms to lure more players in the sector. We have witnessed a growing number of foreign companies occupying key sub-sectors and this nomination is by no coming at the right to recognise our sterling efforts to reform the mining sector,” he said.
Other mining sub-sectors have also witnessed hefty investment inflows such as at Arcadia Lithium Mine in Goromonzi, which is expected to start producing lithium by the second quarter of next year.
ZIMBABWE’s top envoys in various capitals across the globe have pledged to harness the government’s mantra of “friend to all and enemy to none” to exploit investment opportunities for the country’s economy.
Under the Second Republic, Zimbabwe has been opening arms and exploring various areas of engagement with different nations which has seen the country opening embassies regionally and globally to boost political and economic relations.
While speaking on the sidelines of the ongoing Diplomats Retreat in Bulawayo this Wednesday, Zimbabwe’s representative in Senegal, His Excellency Ambassador James Maridadi noted the progress being made to transform political ties into economic benefits.
“The thrust of the new dispensation is friends to all enemy to none. The next thing is to escalate the ties which have been good but are improving politically,” he said,
Her Excellency Ambassador Priscilla Misihairambwi Mushonga, the country’s top envoy in Sweden believes Zimbabwe stands to benefit from the interests in technology on green energy projects, with ties already cemented.
“There is serious interest in Zimbabwe, Scandinavians are much interested with young people, in green transition we have managed to send delegations to Sweden on the ten gorges project so the country stands to benefit,” she said.
The country has been making significant strides to transform bilateral ties with other nations into economic benefits which have seen the country getting mechanisation equipment and public transport buses from Belarus.
The Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare, Honourable Paul Mavima, has called for the immediate removal of sanctions against Zimbabwe, stressing that these punitive measures imposed on the country more than two decades ago have seriously undermined the country’s ability to adequately meet the needs of “people of concern” to the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR).
Addressing a meeting of the UNHCR’s Executive Committee in Geneva yesterday (10 October), the Minister referenced the recently-tabled Report of the Special Rapporteur on the impact of sanctions and the devastating effect those measures had had upon all sectors of socio-economic activity in the country.
The Executive Committee is meeting to receive and discuss status reports on the global refugee situation. By reason of conflict, persecution, food insecurity, climate emergency and the devastating impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, there are currently in excess of 100 million people, worldwide, officially classified as refugees, asylum-seekers and/or displaced persons, thereby falling under the protective umbrella of the UNHCR.
Zimbabwe is a refugee host country, providing shelter and safe haven for some 16 000 refugees, primarily accommodated at the Tongogara Refugee Centre in eastern Zimbabwe.
Acknowledging Zimbabwe’s host government’s obligations to provide care and protection to those who have entered the country as refugees and/or asylum-seekers, Minister Mavima detailed the efforts being made to fulfil those obligations. Such efforts include promoting and diversifying self-reliant agricultural and entrepreneurial SME projects in order to build resilience; the inclusion of refugees and asylum-seekers in national sports and cultural programmes, and expanding existing educational facilities available at the Centre.
Stressing Zimbabwe’s commitment to continuing working with UNHCR, IOM and other UN Agencies in these endeavours, the Minister lamented the continued imposition of western sanctions, observing that, “they (sanctions) have decimated economic performance, aggravated humanitarian-related challenges, and have adversely impacted access to basic rights for Zimbabwean residents, including refugees”.
Responding to the Minister’s statement, High Commissioner Fillippo Grandi commented that the UNHCR was a “non-political forum”, but acknowledged that, for Zimbabwe and a significant number of other countries, the imposition of economic sanctions was an important issue. He said that the use of such punitive measures, anywhere, should never impede humanitarian activities, nor the delivery of humanitarian assistance and support, nor should it undermine the capacity of host countries to fulfil their international obligations in terms of protection of refugees, asylum-seekers and displaced persons more generally.
Earlier in the day, Minister Mavima paid a courtesy call on Dr Gilbert Houngbo, the newly-inaugurated Director-General of the International Labour Organisation (ILO), at the Organisation’s Geneva headquarters.
Dr Houngbo, the first African to head the ILO, took up his appointment on 1 October, 2022.
Minister Mavima and the Director General reviewed the ongoing excellent cooperation between Zimbabwe and the ILO, including the findings of the recently-concluded Direct Contacts Mission which visited the country in April.
Minister Mavima updated the Director General on progress being made in respect of aligning labour-related legislation to the 2013 Constitution as well as progress towards the appointment of an Executive Director for the Tri-partite Negotiating Forum (TNF) and the operationalisation of the TNF Secretariat. The Minister also briefed the DG on progress being made in bringing the National Employment Policy in line with international trends.
Dr Houngbo welcomed the updates provided by the Minister, observed that the ILO had an active portfolio of cooperation projects and programmes with Zimbabwe and that he looked forward to further enhancing the existing excellent partnership between the two.
In the evening, Minister Mavima was a guest at the UNHCR’s 2022 Nansen Refugee Award Ceremony, where the former Federal Chancellor of Germany, Dr Angela Merkel, was presented with the award as the 2022 Global Laureate.
In his citation prior to bestowing the award on Dr Merkel, High Commissioner Grandi praised her for her “leadership, courage and compassion” – with specific reference to the 2015/2016 decision, taken under her leadership, for more than 1 million, mainly Syrian refugees, to be received in Germany and, over time, integrated into society by way of education and training programmes and targeted employment schemes.
Later this week, Minister Mavima will hold a bilateral meeting with High Commissioner Grandi and Assistant High Commissioner (Protection) Gillian Triggs. Ms Triggs, a former Head of the Australian Human Rights Commission, visited Zimbabwe in January 2022.
The Minister is also scheduled to meet with Antonio Vittorini, Director-General of the International Organisation for Migration (IOM).
ENTREPRENEURS in Bulawayo say the illegal sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe more than 20 years ago have hampered their growth and penetration into global markets.
Their sentiments come in the wake of growing calls for the removal of the illegal economic embargo imposed on Zimbabwe by the West.
“Sanctions limit growth. Our vision is to manufacture and also supply all over the continent, but you will find that because of that condition, we are really deprived and it limits our growth,” said Providence Moyo from Divine Pro-Company.
With the rest of the world already growing its digital economies, Zimbabwe remains deprived of its potential to fully enjoy the fruits of e-commerce as it is not listed on some of the digital payment platforms.
“When we buy equipment or get orders to buy laboratory suppliers, some institutions like in the US there will tell you that our country is not registered in that system. They will end up referring us to their distributors in SA. Now there is social media and it is a global world.
“Now you can sell things on Facebook and people can pay you, but Zimbabwe does not have that facility. We can only advertise and have the Facebook online shop, but no transaction that you can do through that online shop,” said Liberty Nyathi, the operations manager for Chemical Technology Africa.
Apart from discouraging foreign investors from coming to Zimbabwe, the sanctions have seen many local companies fail to retool or get working capital to sustain their operations.