Push for new route to the sea

01 Aug, 2022 - 00:08 0 Views
Push for new route to the sea President Mnangagwa

The Herald

Monica Mutsvangwa

Minister of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services

IN a short four years, President Mnangagwa and his team have ushered in and carried out breathtaking reforms in our national economic management. 

He is scoring successes in all the fundamental indices of economic growth. The stability of the national currency is the last and final frontier in the quest for autonomy in the shepherding of our economy. 

Herculean efforts are underway to fend off predatory speculation that has been the bane of the monetary sector. I heartily applaud the introduction of Mosi-oa-Tunya gold coins. The most important attribute being to serve as a reference to the daily value of our national currency.

The foreign exchange management regime is now being housed in the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, the only statutory entity arrogated with that role. Zimbabweans are sick and tired of subversive foreign currency manipulators and their horde of local cohorts.

Their egregiously greedy role was to drown out our national currency through de facto imposition of the US dollar. Out of this malaise, the nation and its populace would wallow in the value destruction through unbridled inflation. 

The ultimate goal being economic penury for the masses and the incubation of political regime change long sought by the post imperial West. The other hydra head of inflation is the artificially long export routes imposed by Western hegemony over the years. 

The Mozambique ports of Beira and Maputo are our shortest and cheapest gateways to global commerce. 

Yet a diabolical policy of supporting and succouring the post apartheid vestiges of subregional economy anchored to white supremacists continued to foster Durban as our entrepôt. This is 2 000km away and a container has to be trucked or railed at 3-4 times the sea-freight charge. I applaud President Mnangagwa for the initiatives he is pursuing to reverse this historical anomaly. He enjoys solid bonds with President Nyusi of Mozambique, our natural access to the vital Indian Ocean.

The two Presidents have since upgraded our links to Bilateral Commission Status. This will engender tight if not one-stop management of the logistic chain of ports, railways and roads. I need to alert industry to an upcoming avalanche of new exports. 

The Mvuma-Chivhu-Manhize Steel plant will start production by mid-2023. The investor Tsingshan Group Holdings has his focus on carbon or mild steel exports from the multi-billion dollar project. 

Immediate route is to Maputo port via Rutenga and Chiqualaquala. 

Medium, there has to be the development of a new PANAMEX configured Chonguene harbour on the Limpopo River mouth in XaiXai. The ultimate panacea is a direct wide gauge rail from Mvuma-Chivhu-Manhize to either Beira or Macuse. 

The other source of new load is lithium. The first half of 2022 has seen three mergers and acquisitions in this tantalising lithium sector. 

The world is on the cusp of a seminal changeover from fossil fuels of diesel, petrol and LNG to Electric Storage Batteries. 

Cobalt, nickel and lithium as well as graphite and copper are key elements of these New Electric Storage Batteries of the New Energy Electric Vehicles-NEEVs. 

The Democratic Republic Congo supplies over 60 percent of global cobalt mineral resources. The Copperbelt of Zambia and DR Congo are important producers of copper. 

Mozambique owns the world’s largest graphite mine at Montpuez. And Zimbabwe is in the running with Lynx Mine in Karoi if graphite mining can be resumed.

The real bonanza is in Zimbabwe’s hard rock lithium deposits that have witnessed the mouth-watering $600 million buy out of Arcadia Lithium, MaxMind Lithium of Buhera and Bikita Lithium. Global scale capital and accompanying technology is pouring in.

The initial stage is large-scale mining. This will soon be followed by local beneficiation. The final stage being the manufacture of Electric Storage Batteries by both Zimbabwe and Mozambique. Everyone knows what role Riyadh, Dubai and Moscow play in fossil fuels.

Flip over and very soon Harare and Maputo will displace them as New Energy Electriv Vehicles-NEEVs take off. 

China leads the pack in the adaptation and manufacture of NEEVs. And China does not baulk at building requisite infrastructure. 

I can confidently announce to you that both President Mnangagwa and Nyusi are jointly working on this file. 

Indeed, the same Tsingshan Holdings Group of Mvuma-Chivhu-Manhize Steel has already asked for 10 000ha in coastal Mozambique to set up a New Energy Industrial Park close to Zimbabwe lithium as well as DR Congo cobalt.

By the way, Tsingshan is also a world leader in the New Electric  Energy Vehicle-NEEV supply chain. 

This courtesy of its stranglehold on global nickel production in Indonesia. 

(You may recall the recent hiatus at the London Metal Exchange. Tsingshan has since forced J.P. Morgan Chase out of nickel commodity trading). All summarised, your industry is poised for a paradigm shift as Global Fortune 500 companies begin to flock to the SADC region to exploit its treasure trove of vital minerals.  

I am just priming you to keep your eyes and ears wide open. You can imagine the fuel and machinery imports that will follow even from other minerals exploitation.

There also is the technological dimension. Better telecommunications, fail-safe internet and other related services.

I also take the opportunity to again laud President Mnangagwa and the border handling miracle that is our Beitbridge-Musina ports of entry. Clearance of cargo trucks is now an instantaneous breeze courtesy of the new investment. Clearly Mutare and Chirundu are sequel candidates as our nation prepares for the Africa Continental Free Trade Act. 

You now need to anticipate a free market of 1.2 billion consumers way beyond our 15 million  Zimbabweans and 240 million SADC population. I call upon you industry to closely monitor and follow the exciting prospects I have alluded to and indeed to others as the Second Republic works to deliver on the prosperity long yearned.

The multiplier effect is bound to profoundly change and to phenomenally grow your industry.

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