First Aussie business delegation in 23 years expected Zimbabwean Ambassador to Australia Joe Mhishi

Farirai Machivenyika

Senior Reporter

The first Australian business delegation in over 23 years, is expected in Zimbabwe today on a five-day visit and will participate at the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair that begins in Bulawayo tomorrow.

Zimbabwean Ambassador to Australia Joe Mhishi, confirmed the visit by the delegation, which will be on a business exploratory mission. The visit comes with the increase in interest by investors in the opportunities available in Zimbabwe, following the adoption of investor friendly policies by the Second Republic led by President Mnangagwa.

 “The delegation, coming from the city of Melbourne, will also participate at the ZITF from April 23 to 26. The visit to the ZITF marks the first such visit by an Australian business delegation in over 23 years,” said Ambassador Mhishi.

“The visit comes against the backdrop of the foreign policy of the Second Republic focused on affirmation, engagement and re-engagement. In particular, the pursuit of economic diplomacy by the Second Republic,” he said. 

A major highlight of the visit will be meetings between the delegation, Government, the Chinhoyi University of Technology and private sector businesses aimed at exploring prospects of setting up an advanced livestock genetics project, amongst other collaborative opportunities. 

The delegation comprises members of the Australian-based Zimbabwean diaspora and Australian businesspeople, including co-founder of GLOSTA and group executive director of the GETC Group Mr James Scuderi, and founder and CEO of SILC Group Mr Koby Jones. SILC is one of Australia’s leading independent fund trustees and management groups, with over A$2,8 billion under supervision. 

Dr Rajneesh Verma, an expert in advanced animal genetics, is attending in his capacity as senior division lead of the GLOSTA livestock sciences and horticulture division.

Ambassador Mhishi said an advanced livestock genetics project in Zimbabwe would expedite work on the Zimbabwe national beef herd growth programme and the Zimbabwe national dairy herd breeding strategy. 

“The working programme for the delegation includes meetings with the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development. There is interest in the delegation to invest in Zimbabwe’s mining sector, with focus on gold, copper and lithium. A meeting with Government and CUT is scheduled to discuss building student accommodation for the university,” he said. 

Additional meetings are scheduled with the Minerals Marketing Cooperation of Zimbabwe, focused on the purchase of samples of Zimbabwean minerals, the Zimbabwe Investment and Development Agency, ZimTrade, Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority, the Zimbabwe Chamber of Mines and the Horticultural Development Council of Zimbabwe.

The Australian Business Council Summit has thanked Ambassador Mhishi, who is also the dean of the African Diplomatic Corps in Australia, for his keynote speech during the organisation’s media conference and dinner last month.

Council president Dr Frank Alafaci commended Ambassador Mhishi for his address that set the record straight on the situation in Zimbabwe and dispelled the false narratives portrayed by some sections of the international media.

“The formal address to the audience of more than 100 business leaders, political leaders, community leaders, diplomatic officials and representative members of the press, clearly addressed the benefits for Australia to pursue unprecedented choices in important markets like Zimbabwe to enhance bilateral relations.

“Your Excellency’s remarks adroitly highlighted that Zimbabwe transcends the ill-informed, distorted vision of an unstable and strife-ridden nation as depicted in the mainstream media, which has so often failed to recognise its economic growth and development in an increasingly globalised world, where the proactive engagement with hitherto unappreciated markets has bolstered the diversification of high-value added, innovative and technologically advanced sectors and industries.

“On behalf of the board of directors of the Australian Business Summit Council Inc, I take immense pleasure in expressing our profound gratitude and appreciation to Your Excellency and the Embassy of Zimbabwe for your continuous engagement with the Council to promote business, trade and investment opportunities between Australia and Zimbabwe,” Dr Alafaci said.

Since the coming in of the Second Republic in late 2017, there has been massive investor interest, riding on the investor-friendly laws introduced by the Government and discovery of much-sought after minerals such as lithium, oil and gas, with Australian firms playing a major role in the exploratory work.

Last week, British mining company Cluff Africa, expressed its desire to return to Zimbabwe to partner Mutapa Investment Fund in mining lithium in Mberengwa following an invitation by President Mnangagwa to reinvest in this country.

Company chairman Mr Algy Cluff and his delegation met Foreign Affairs and International Trade Minister, Dr Frederick Shava, and discussed investment opportunities in the country.

Minister Shava said the meeting was a follow-up of the one when President Mnangagwa met Mr Cluff at the coronation of King Charles III last year.

Mr Cluff said he was pleased to come back and re-invest in the country.

“I am very pleased to be back here in Zimbabwe having been among the first investors in the mining sector after independence in 1980. 

“We have returned at the invitation of the President and we are contemplating investment, substantial investment, in industrial minerals.

“Firstly, the project which we have done our due diligence into and are anxious to start work on will produce a substantial cash flow for the country for 30 or 40 years if it is as large as we believe it to be,” he said.

You Might Also Like