COMMENT: Impressive queue of investors at our doorstep

The Chronicle

Zimbabwe continues to consolidate its position as the investment destination of choice in the region and beyond as more companies respond to Zimbabwe is Open for Business mantra.

The latest company to commit to invest in the country is ArcelorMittal, one of the world’s largest steel producers which is already importing 70 percent of coke produced in Zimbabwe.

The company is planning to build coke oven batteries thereby creating thousands of jobs. Each coke oven battery is valued at US$15 million and the companies intends to build the coke oven batteries in Hwange and Binga districts.

Since last year, the company has spent about US$140 million buying coke and coking coal from companies in Hwange. The company said it is targeting to double the amount of coke and coking coal it is buying from Zimbabwe in the next 12 months.

The procurement of coal and coke from Zimbabwe is part of ArcelorMittal South Africa’s “Africa Raw Materials Sourcing Strategy” which has seen the company replacing raw materials from overseas with regional sources. The company had its first train direct delivery from Hwange to South Africa and plans are underway to revamp the country’s railway network. We therefore want to call on the National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) to move with speed to work on the railway network.

ArcelorMittal South Africa (Ltd) chief executive officer and director, Mr Kobus Verster who on Wednesday apprised President Mnangagwa on some of the projects his company is working on in the country, said plans are underway to produce coke locally for their consumption in SA.

National Railways of Zimbabwe train (File picture)

He said the company was substituting imports from Australia and America with Zimbabwean products and it is working well due to proximity issues and the advantage of skilled manpower. He said his company trucks ferrying raw materials from

Zimbabwe take 18 hours to reach the plant yet a ship takes about three months. Mr Verster said the company is ready to build coke plants in Zimbabwe and the money for the project is available. ArcelorMittal joins new investors in Zimbabwe such as Tsingshan Holdings whose subsidiary Dinson Iron and Steel Company (Disco) is investing US$1 billion to set up an integrated Iron and Steel Plant near Mvuma and Intrachem Explosives Company which recently established a detonators plant in Kwekwe.

The ongoing establishment of new companies is a confirmation of the success of Zimbabwe’s engagement and re-engagement policy. Government has also resolved to use local resources to grow the economy despite the illegal sanctions imposed on the country by the United Kingdom, the United States of America and their allies. Guided by its development philosophy: Ilizwe lakhiwa ngabaninilo (Nyika inovakwa nevene vayo), Government continues to invite Zimbabwean professionals in the Diaspora to return home and lead in the development of their country which is endowed with vast natural resources.

Article Source: The Chronicle

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