Victoria Ruzvidzo In Focus
The Herald newspaper and some of its kith and kin under the Zimpapers stable such as The Sunday Mail have in the past, and to some extent even now, been under attack for some of their stories and headlines, which readers sometimes misconstrue as exaggerated or outright falsehoods.
The great thing is that eventually readers get to appreciate the truth, facts and accuracy in our stories, hence, we are the super brand that we are.
That decided and settled, the import of this is that since late November, our newspapers and others outside our stable, even the private media, long known for their venomous criticism of Government policy and other seemingly constructive engagements, have been carrying headlines that were previously unimaginable and could even pass for fiction or just fertile hearsay.
Stories that Zimbabwe has attracted more than $3 billion investment in the last three months, or those that say the European Union has given a thumps up to Zimbabwe’s new dispensation were unheard of previously, even those known to speak in their sleep would not wander far off from what we perceived as “reality”, and yet today these things are actually happening.
You hear big tourism wholesalers, The United Kingdom, Spanish investors, United States of America economic analysts and the whole lot speaking glowingly about this country in a manner that we never dreamt of, even in our wildest of dreams.
And yet it’s all for real.
Yesterday, The Herald’s lead story stated that Zimbabwe is now in the top four of a list of countries in Southern Africa where investors keen on Africa see immense opportunities here. Previously these same multinational corporation would puke at the mention of Zimbabwe, but their interest has been reignited and this is not mere fallacy, but areal life story.
All of a sudden they have noticed how Zimbabwe is so richly endowed with minerals, a big middle class and a highly skilled labour force, which they had been blind to under the previous administration. It means that President Mnangagwa has managed to convincingly pitch the Zimbabwean story and many are keen on exploring more.
As we reported yesterday, US Consultancy firm Frontier Strategy Group said their research had established that Zimbabwe could no longer be ignored by any sane investor.
Zimbabwean bankers and others reported that on a daily basis they were inundated with enquiries about investment opportunities on Zimbabwe, a country that for long has had to do with very little Foreign Direct Investment as investors mourned about tough conditions. This country occupied very low levels on the ease of going business indices. It’s a completely different story now and you can be rest assured that The Herald and other newspapers under the Zimpapers stable are not fabricating anything, but mere reflecting what is happening.
We are not exactly endowed with fiction writers in our stable, but we have a solid team of real life story writers, who are not ashamed of putting their names to a story because it is true and factual. And our readers love this, so do our advertisers and other stakeholders.
So indeed it is in this vain that the not-so-easy-to–believe stories we are carrying since the new dispensation, represent the reality on the ground. In fact President Mnangagwa in all his speeches always makes reference to the power of God in all this. He is a faithful God for real. Zimbabwe is set to claim a significant share of FDI coming to the continent this year and in many years to come.
“Senior executives from major local banks I spoke to say the upswing in inbound queries by prospective investors is the highest they’ve seen in many years.
“Investment is taking off. Pepsi is expanding its capacity there, Unilever is investing in extra capacity and Nigerian cement maker Dangote is reportedly looking at an acquisition. There is also quite a significant up-tick in mining investor interest,” said Frontier Strategy Group practice leader for Sub-Saharan Africa Mr William Artwell in an interview with the Wall Street Journal.
For the much respected Wall Street Journal to carry a positive story on Zimbabwe is a miracle in itself.
We need to ride on this as a country and continue to work at improving our ease of doing business and campaigns to showcase our brand on the international stage.
So The Herald’s printing press will continue to roll these big headlines, these big stories and these milestones onto the streets and on our digital platforms as we play our role of informing, educating and entertaining. We know our readers love this, so do our advertisers and other stakeholders within and without our borders.
Mining Special Desks
In the spirit of improving the country’s ease of doing business, we would like to commend Government for creating desks to deal with specific minerals and one for artisanal and small-scale mining.
This strategy will certainly go a long way in decongesting the systems, while making it easier for investors, both local and foreign to get swift responses to inquiries pertaining to specific minerals they will be interested in.
Having a desk for gold, platinum, chrome, diamonds and the whole list will make many processes easier and faster, hence, approvals may not take months, but days for those investors keen on a certain mineral. The mining sector has emerged as one of the most important in this economy and has potential to take over the top spot from agriculture once it realises its full potential.
Issues like its capital-intensive nature and a cumbersome project approval process has adversely impacted on mining activities, but this is set to change going forward.
The recent mining conference held in Harare was attended by more than 400 local and international investors, signifying the importance of this sector in Zimbabwe’s economic matrix. Such kind of interest registered at the conference is also something that should not be taken lightly.
Continuous improvement in the ease of doing business for the sector and the country at large will surely reap good results for this country.
Mines Minister Winston Chitando has said he is taking the ease of doing business strategy very seriously.
“I am sure most of you have heard what we call ease of doing business. We would want to see, effective April, a monthly meeting between the Zimbabwe Miners Federation, the small-scale desk and other officials in the ministry, so that there is a channel to exchange notes and see how we can improve our small-scale mining sector,” he said as he addressed the inaugural Artisanal and Small Scale Miners Mining and Investment Summit in Harare on Wednesday.
Of course increased communication between Government and players in the sector will yield positive results and ultimately impact on output.
Strategies can also be sought for artisanal miners, many of whom engage in environmentally unfriendly activities that are harmful to humans and animals alike. Conversations between stakeholders will come with better ways of doing business.
Smuggling is an age-old activity in the mining sector, cheating the country of more than $1 billion annually. We, therefore, hope that such meetings and the special desks will address the issues and concerns of pricing and payments, among other issues that result in such retrogressive activities.
Zimbabwe needs to harness its resources and account for every cent it earns from what is in its belly.
The investor interest in the mining sector should work to our advantage and help transform the economy.
We might not have discovered vibranium, yet as was the case with the rich African country of Wakanda in the movie “Black Panther”, but we have all it takes to enjoy a high tech life that country experienced. Mining did it for them and in reality mining can surely do it for Zimbabwe.
In God I Trust!