Fidelis Munyoro Chief Court Reporter
Zimbabwe will leverage on its natural resources and will not be deterred by the economic embargo imposed on it by Western nations, which have caused untold suffering of the people, President Mnangagwa has said.
The Head of State and Government was speaking after witnessing the signing ceremony of an investment agreement on Southern Serui Platinum Concessions between the Government and the Bravura Consortium for aero-magnetic exploration of the 3 000ha Muflox claims.
The claims are situated north of Selous along the Great Dyke in Mashonaland West Province.
The ceremony was held at Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport in Harare yesterday, where the President commissioned two aero-magnetic planes to be used for the exploration.
The Bravura Consortium is a multinational mining house with subsidiaries in Nigeria, DRC, Guinea and Zimbabwe.
President Mnangagwa said the country has been under sanctions for a long time, resulting in the collapse of the economy.
This, he said, left the country’s development stagnated.
“While indeed we still say to those who imposed sanctions on us, remove them, because there is no justification for the embargo, we should not bury our heads in sand because of those sanctions,” he said.
“We should realise that we have resources in our country. We must, therefore, focus on harnessing those resources to develop, modernise and industrialise our country and our economy.
“We should not have sanctions impugn our capacity and capability to use our resources to the benefit of our people. We should rise using the resources at our disposal and move forward.”
President Mnangagwa, who was on his way from Victoria Falls where he had been invited to attend the Zimbabwe Chamber of Mines conference, said Bravura investment in the country was another milestone in the mining sector.
This comes after another platinum mining giant, Karo Resources, launched its investment proposals on a concession in the same province.
“We have just come from Vic Falls this afternoon where I had been invited by the Zimbabwe Chamber of Mines,” he said.
“They are holding their mining conference in the resort town, where our people and other investors in this sector are assembled to exchange views, technology and vision on how to grow and maximise the exploitation of our mining sector. Here are our people coming together saying how do we grow the mining sector?”
The President said the miners have a target, which they have set for themselves for the sector to grow to a minimum of US$12 billion by the year 2023. He said they have also come up with a roadmap to achieve their goals in terms of modernisation and expansion of the entities they are exploiting now.
“They bring on board new technology, new skills to achieve the goals they have set themselves,” he said. The President said he admired citizens who occupy themselves with the task to grow the country’s economy and better people’s lives, not those pre-occupied with the mission to destroy the country.
“We assembled here today in pursuit of another challenge to contribute to the growth of our economy in the mining sector,” said President Mnangagwa adding that he was most pleased to have established platinum mining entities in the country, such as Mimosa, Todal, Unki and Zimplats.
The President said while all these mining entities were foreign owned Bravura was an investor from the continent. “An African company investing in an African country. This is great. This what we want to see. This speaks to the integration of the regions of our economies as a continent. We congratulate you Bravura,” he said.
He said Bravura was not investing its global capital in Zimbabwe not only to make money, but also for creating jobs for the local people. Phase one of the project will see an excess of 2000 people being employed directly by the mining company.
“As it expands I also see expansion of employment by this project, beneficiation,” he said. “In your speech you said you are not blind to the need to beneficiate. Again I congratulate you for your vision, this is our vision too.”
President Mnangagwa also said to grow the economy there are some sub-sectors of the national economy which are low hanging fruits and among them are agriculture, mining, tourism and ICT sectors.
The second layer is composed of manufacturing, infrastructure development, transport and other social services. President Mnangawa said if people were focused the have the capacity to develop the country given the unity, peace and stability prevailing in the country.
He urged people not to despair but to be bold enough to tackle the challenges facing the country head on.
“No one will come and develop this country for us,” he said. “But because we don’t have the skills, capital and technology, we therefore say Zimbabwe is open for business. That way we harness capital, skills, technology from outside to help us grow as a country and as economy.”
President Mnangawa said the darkest hour is before dawn and Zimbabwe’s prosperity is about to be realised.
“I believe those who have the perception know that darkest hour for Zimbabwe is before dawn.,” he said. “Dawn is just a few kilometres away. Prosperity for this country is there. All what we need is unity and peace among our people. We must march forward together .”
President Mnangagwa said while it was his desire to have the people move forward as a united front some fall by the way side.
“Yes, along the way you may have some who fall by the wayside, some who will not see the vision.,” he said. “It is true, even if we say unity, unity, Christ, Christ not all those who say Christ are Christians. Not all those who say unity, unity have unity in their minds but the majority of our people love unity and they will love to see this country grow. These are the milestones which we are putting stones upon stone, brick upon brick to build our country.”
The President praised Bravura executive vice chairman Mr Benedict Peters for choosing Zimbabwe as their investment destination.
“My brother Mr Peters we shall count you among those in our history who have come to walk with us, to labour with us to surmount the challenges which we face to grow our country and economy.”