Africa Moyo Business Reporter
Zimbabwe continues to be primed for massive economic take-off following the July 30 harmonised elections won by Zanu-PF, with revered global businessman Sir Richard Heygate saying the country will soon become the “light-house” of Africa.
Sir Richard, who is credited for inventing the world’s first online ATM in 1968 and is also the international agent and advisor for top Chinese firm, China Railway Group, believes President-elect Emmerson Mnangagwa should be given time as he has the capacity to take the country to greater economic heights.
This comes as President Mnangagwa has plucked the economy from the doldrums it was plunged by former President Robert Mugabe.
The economy has since and is showing signs of growth evidenced by a huge demand for foreign currency and fuel.
President Mnangagwa has since laid down a firm foundation for huge take-off after opening the country to foreign direct investment following years of being shunned by deep-pocketed investors due to policy inconsistency and disrespect for property rights.
With statistics from the Zimbabwe Investment Authority (ZIA) indicating that approvals of $16 billion were recorded between January and June this year, indications are that the country is set for a major economic boom.
Said Sir Heygate this week: “From my perspective, I am more positive than ever about Zimbabwe’s future as the ‘light-house’ of Africa.
“The continent certainly needs one, what with the recent news from South Africa looking worse than ever. Let’s bottle our prejudices, think positively and give ED (President Mnangagwa) a chance.”
Last week, the World Bank reaffirmed that Zimbabwe was on course for a major re-investment period in the next five years.
This will help it achieve its vision of achieving middle income status by 2030 when the bulk of citizens will have “decent jobs”.
Sir Richard visited Zimbabwe late in March this year, representing China Railway Group, which is keen to get a tender for the construction of a 400km railway link between Shamva and Moatize, Mozambique.
The mega project is expected to create thousands of jobs for both skilled and unskilled citizens in line with Zanu-PF’s election manifest of creating jobs for people.
Top officials from China Railway were in Harare almost a fortnight ago to try and seal the
The company’s vice president and senior engineer, Mr Shao Gang, led the delegation which met the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development, and his permanent secretary Engineer George Mlilo.
Government wants investors to construct the Shamva-Moatize Railway link to take advantage of plans by the Mozambique government to create a second port north of Maputo, as it seeks to ease congestion at Beira.
The project involves co-operation between Zimbabwe and Mozambique and processes are reportedly at an advanced stage to conclude the discussions that will result in the project kicking off.
China Railway’s co-operating local partner is Global Power Bridge International.
The Chinese firm, which was established in 1950, is not in debt and its bank balance is always above $2,5 billion “at any time”.
China Railways is the world’s largest rail and infrastructure company, which is credited for constructing about a quarter of the rail network in China and over 5 000km of road construction.