Diaspora Zimbabweans are expected to inject over a billion dollars in a number of strategic projects in the country, Acting President Emmerson Mnangagwa has said.
In an interview during his tour of Arda Antelope Estate in Maphisa, Matabeleland South, last Friday, Acting President Mnangagwa said the diasporans had taken a keen interest in Government programmes to rebuild the economy.
“Five to six weeks ago, we had an investment conference in South Africa and as a result of that, three programmes are coming out,” he said.
Acting President Mnangagwa said a group of young businesspeople based in South Africa had approached Government to fund some of the projects.
The projects include a National Railways of Zimbabwe recapitalisation programme, purchase of agricultural equipment and construction of fuel pipelines from Harare to South Africa, Botswana and Zambia.
A business consortium comprising South Africa’s Transnet and the Diaspora Infrastructure Development Group recently bid to partner the NRZ in a $400 million re-capitalisation programme.
The DIDG-Transnet consortium is reported to have raised close to $1,2 billion for the recapitalisation of the NRZ.
“They have participated in the National Railways of Zimbabwe bid. They bid $500 million to rehabilitate our railways,” Cde Mnangagwa said.
“This is a group of young Zimbabweans based in South Africa. The other group is bringing in agricultural equipment – combine harvesters, tractors and planters,” he said.
The Acting President said a group of Zimbabweans based in South Africa had put together funds for the projects.
“These are young Zimbabweans based in South Africa who control huge funds, investment funds. They control them at the top and they have put their funds together and are funding the programme,” he said.
He said a third group was made up of white Zimbabweans based outside the country who also approached Government with project proposals.
He said he met the group with Macro-Economic Planning and Investment Promotion Minister Obert Mpofu.
The group controls about 32 companies in South Africa.
“They said they have enough funds to do a pipeline from Beira to Mutare and if we don’t want it that is okay! They have enough money to build a pipeline from Mutare to Harare, if we don’t want it it’s okay,” the Acting President said.
“But they know we don’t have a pipeline from Harare to Gweru to Limpopo. They have the funds for that. Another pipeline is from Harare to Botswana. We don’t have that pipeline and they have the money.
“Another pipeline is from Harare to Lusaka, we don’t have it but they have the money.”
He said white businesspeople argued that the past was a bygone era and they were ready to invest in Zimbabwe.
“And they say, yes, let’s forget about the past when you chased us from the farms. They have the funds and this is what they are offering to do. We are looking at the Ministry of Energy to say what do you say to this offer.”
Government has been working on improving ease of doing business in the country. Recently it also set up a Special Economic Zones board chaired by forner RBZ governor Gideon Gono to further spur foreign direct investment.