Canadian firm to upgrade Zim railway network

Farirai Machivenyika  in Maputo, Mozambique

A Canadian company with mining interests in Africa has expressed willingness to rehabilitate the railway line connecting four countries in the Sadc region, including Zimbabwe.

The company — Ivanhoe Mines Limited — has operations in South Africa and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

Yesterday, former South African President Kgalema Motlanthe paid a courtesy call on President Mnangagwa here before the inauguration of Mozambican president Filipe Nyusi, where he conveyed the company’s interest.

In an interview with Zimbabwean journalists before he returned home, President Mnangagwa said the proposal presented an opportunity to modernise Zimbabwe’s railway system.

“He (President Motlanthe) had a very interesting project. There is a company in the DRC and it’s a huge Canadian company which has investments in South Africa and also in the DRC.

“They would want to modernise the railway line from DRC through Zambia, Zimbabwe and South Africa and this requires the cooperation of the four States.

“For us, this is an opportunity for Zimbabwe’s railways to benefit from the regional expansion and modernisation of the railway system,” President Mnangagwa said.

The Government recently cancelled a tender it had awarded to DIDG-Transnet consortium for the recapitalisation of NRZ after it allegedly failed to fulfil its contractual obligations.

Ivanhoe, formerly called Ivanplats, is based in Vancouver, Canada, and its projects include the platinum Platreef project located in the Northern Limb of South Africa’s Bushveld Complex and the Kipushi project on the DRC copper belt.

The President also met African Development Bank (AfDB) president Akinwumi Adesina, who expressed the bank’s continued interest in assisting Zimbabwe.

The President said he thanked Mr Adesina for his bank’s assistance to Zimbabwe over the years.

“We thanked him as the president of the bank, that he has assisted Zimbabwe,” President Mnangagwa said.

“Each time we have sought to be assisted, the bank has risen to the challenge and we were briefing each other about the challenges Zimbabwe is facing now and the possibility of the bank extending lines of credit to Zimbabwe.

“The signs are very positive that we should continue to have that cooperation.”

He said there were discussions with other financial institutions to resume assistance to Zimbabwe.

“The bank is doing its best to discuss with other financial institutions to say the challenges facing the country don’t call for the insistence by many international institutions to continue denying Zimbabwe lines of credit.

“It’s unjustifiable and most irresponsible on the part of such institutions because Zimbabwe, like any other country, would want to develop and not interfere in other countries’ affairs. We are reforming politically and economically and are a stable country,” President Mnangagwa said.

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