Russian mining giant heads to Zimbabwe

President Mnangagwa is introduced to Russian Federation’s Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and Special Presidential Representative for the Middle East and Africa, Mr Mikhail Bogdanov by Mr Igor Viktorovich Bogdashev, Director of State Protocol Department at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia (left), on arrival at Pulkovo International Airport in St Petersburg, Russia yesterday. — Picture: Presidential Photographer Tawanda Mudimu

THE world’s largest diamond producer Alrosa of Russia will next week be in Zimbabwe to start work on mining operations with 50 more companies from the Euroasian nation targeting various sectors.

This emerged yesterday after President Mnangagwa’s arrival for the two-day Russia Africa Economic and Humanitarian Forum.

Because of the “Zimbabwe is Open for Business” mantra championed by President Mnangagwa and his engagement and re-engagement drive, investors from the Russian Federation yesterday expressed willingness to set shop in the country with representatives from various corporates holding meetings with a high-powered delegation of ministers that is accompanying President Mnangagwa.

The Deputy Chief Secretary in the Office of the President and Cabinet (Communications) Mr George Charamba said the President had a meeting with Alrosa where the company expressed satisfaction with the investment climate in Zimbabwe, particularly that the country met its side of the bargain.

The President had a meeting with Alrosa where the company expressed satisfaction with the investment climate in Zimbabwe, particularly that the country met its side of the bargain.

Alrosa, the world’s largest diamond producer by output, started conducting geological exploration in Zimbabwe in 2013 but dropped the licences it held in the country in 2016, and only returned under the Second Republic because of President Mnangagwa’s political and economic reforms.

At the summit, that is being held under the theme, “For peace, security and development”, all African states are represented.

Russia is historically an ally of the continent and helped many nations during the liberation struggle, now the country is one of the leading nations in charting a new world order of multilateralism and win-win inter-state relations, as opposed to unilateralism manifest in Western nations that imposed unjustified sanctions on other countries.

Zimbabwe and Russia are victims of the illegal economic sanctions that are designed to cause regime change and a bilateral meeting between President Mnangagwa and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin today is likely to see the two leaders charting a new path.

The forum that is running parallel with a Summit of African countries and Russia and its companies, is also taking place at a time when the world is on the cusp of witnessing a new world order based on multilateralism as opposed to unilateralism. 

It also comes at a time when the world is turning its back on the sole use of the US dollar with many nations seeking to join the Britain, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS) group of nations.

Speaking at a business roundtable meeting that was chaired by Foreign Affairs and International Trade Minister Ambassador Frederick Shava, Zimbabwe’s Honorary Consular to St Petersburg, Mr Sobolev said there are more than 50 Russian companies that are ready to set shop in the country.

“Over the last two years we have been pushing for a win-win relationship with Zimbabwe. We have engaged the Russian Federation, and corporations interested in investing in Zimbabwe. More than 50 companies have expressed their willingness to invest in Zimbabwe. We are convinced that you are saying the right things and the main purpose of today’s (yesterday) meeting is to come up with a roadmap,” he said.

On his part, Amb Shava said Zimbabwe, under the leadership of President Mnangagwa had taken the bold steps to open the country for business. 

“This is a great honour to address the Russian business community. I hope this will go a long way in deepening the economic relations between the two countries. This is a platform for sharing information on the vast business opportunities that exist in Zimbabwe which I hope the companies here will consider investing in,” said Amb Shava.

He said relations between the two countries started as political during the liberation struggle and have now morphed into increased trade and commerce.

Ambassador Shava, also pitched various opportunities abundant in Zimbabwe in sectors such as mining, agriculture, education and health.

Amb Shava outlined steps that Zimbabwe has taken to make the country the investors’ choice including the setting up of the Zimbabwe Investment Development Agency (ZIDA) that comes with the creation of special economic zones.

A representative of Rostec said his company that has supplied helicopters to Zimbabwe is also considering making Zimbabwe its industrial hub for Africa.

Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa, who co-chaired the roundtable meeting said Zimbabwe is an investor destination of choice. 

“We want to make sure that you find Zimbabwe as the best investor friendly nation in Africa, investing in Zimbabwe makes sense because you are guaranteed of making profits. Our President has said Zimbabwe is open for business. Russian businesses should invest in Zimbabwe for many reasons, particularly for the minerals that are endowed in my country, Russia is well known for steel production and Zimbabwe is building one of the biggest plants in Africa so there are business opportunities,” said the minister.

The meeting was also attended by Industry and Commerce Minister Sekai Nzenza, Minister Mutsvangwa, ICT, Postal and Courier Services Minister Jenfan Muswere, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Information and Publicity Mr Nick Mangwana and Zimbabwean businesspeople who included Mr Delish Nguwaya (CEO Geo Pomona Waste Management) and Dr Sydney Gata of ZESA. 

Mr Nguwaya said investors should come to the country “because the business environment in Zimbabwe is very friendly. Therefore, it would be careless for me not to take this opportunity to invite investment into our country”.

Herald

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