ZIMBABWEAN mining companies recently clinched business deals worth over $3 million at the just-ended DRC Mining Week, ZimTrade has said.
BY MTHANDAZO NYONI
The expo, attended by 10 Zimbabwean mining companies, was held in Lubumbashi in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)from June 13 to 15.
“In spite of its reputation for instability and pandemic diseases, especially Ebola, the DRC is attracting a lot of foreign nationals, who can see great business potential in the country, ZimTrade’s acting export promotion manager, Renwick Wachenyuka, said.
“During our visit to Lubumbashi at no time did we feel unsafe, and the Zimbabweans in attendance identified some great business opportunities,” he said.
Apart from the trade show, participating companies also toured the Tenge Fungurume Mine, which holds one of the world’s largest known copper and cobalt reserves, as well as the Ivanhoe Mine where they established contact with some key personnel in the DRC mining sector.
“Our participation at the mining week expo and visits to DRC’s top mines was quite an eye opener. We were not sure of the market we were going into, but it was quite surprising and impressive to note that the DRC has a lot of potential which we can tap into,” Zimbabwe Valves director, Michael Sullivan, said.
“Moreover, the Congolese seem to have a soft spot for Zimbabwe and were excited to see a Zimbabwean delegation at the expo for the first time. We appreciate the support from ZimTrade and the consulate in Lubumbashi and look forward to doing business there,” he said.
In 2016, ZimTrade, conducted a market survey in the DRC and discovered good potential for trade between Zimbabwe and DRC. With a population of approximately 84 million, untapped resources, and prospects for growth in areas such as agriculture; mining; pharmaceuticals; manufacturing; engineering and tourism, the DRC proves to be a lucrative market for Zimbabwean businesses.
Zimbabwe and the DRC currently enjoy good political relations. Furthermore, both countries share common membership in the Southern Africa Development Community and the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa, which ensures favourable trading conditions for companies in both nations.
The DRC market is notorious for being a risky and logistically challenging one to enter, but the exhibiting Zimbabwean companies discovered that it is a market with huge potential that possibly outweighs the risks.
In particular, the Katanga province in which Lubumbashi is located, is a peaceful and stable place to do business.