Gwanda woos investors with incentives 

Source: Gwanda woos investors with incentives – The Standard April 28, 2019 By Richard Muponde GWANDA, which is eyeing city status in a year, has dangled a carrot to investors by offering incentives to businesses willing to set base in the gold mining town. The town is located 126km southeast of Bulawayo, Zimbabwe’s second largest […]

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Source: Gwanda woos investors with incentives – The Standard April 28, 2019

By Richard Muponde

GWANDA, which is eyeing city status in a year, has dangled a carrot to investors by offering incentives to businesses willing to set base in the gold mining town.

The town is located 126km southeast of Bulawayo, Zimbabwe’s second largest city.

It is the capital of Matabeleland South, one of the 10 administrative provinces in the country.

Economic centres surrounding Gwanda include Mbalabala, West Nicholson, Filabusi, Esigodini and Matobo.

The town is endowed with natural resources on which it hinges its hopes for economic growth, which include, but are not limited to gold, lime ore, livestock-rich grazing land, granite and beautiful geographical landscape for tourism.

However, despite the abundant resources, the town has nothing to show for it in terms of development, prompting the town fathers to line up a number of incentives to woo investors.

Council has dangled a 25% discount on land sales, additional 10 % discount for outright cash payment towards land value, 100% removal/waiver of development levies if construction commences within 12 months from day of purchase of land and exemption from payment of council rates for the first 12 months.

In an interview at the local authority’s stand at the just-ended Zimbabwe International Trade Fair, Gwanda’s economic development officer Mandlenkosi Moyo said  they were on an overdrive to attract investors.

“We have target areas, which we are promoting and our theme is ‘Infrastructure development to make industry tick”, that is aimed at creating a conducive environment for industrial development and sustainable service delivery,” he said.

“We have also improved our road network to be the envy of many thanks to Zinara funding.”

Moyo said artisanal miners were the force behind Gwanda’s economy as they were producing more than the three big mines in Gwanda, namely Blanket, Vumbachikwe and Farvic, combined.

“We want to help them to get investors so that they also use environment-friendly methods of mining,” he said.

“At the moment they are unwanted people as their methods of mining are unpopular with stakeholders, which leaves them being stigmatised, but they are the driving force behind the economy of Gwanda.”

Moyo said the local authority was also targeting to increase the number of hotel rooms in Gwanda as they only stand at 100 for all lodges including Gwanda Hotel.

“Gwanda is the capital of Matabeleland South. We do have land set aside for investment in hotels and lodges,” he said.

“We are coming from a background where land was sold to people who had no capacity and we can’t grab the land back.

“We have another space earmarked for investment in the hospitality and tourism sector, but we are not going to give out to someone without a business profile.”

Moyo also invited investors to venture into quarry mining at Masholomoshe Mountain as most of the town’s construction aggregate comes from Bulawayo.

He said livestock value addition chain investors were welcome to invest and tap into the large stock of livestock which Gwanda is endowed with.

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Currency crisis hits real estate sector

Source: Currency crisis hits real estate sector – The Standard April 28, 2019 By Thomas Mupfuka Zimbabwe’s real estate sector is under immense pressure to review rentals in response to the country’s deteriorating economy, which has resulted in rising operating costs, defaults and voids. First Mutual Properties MD Chris Manyowa, told Standardbusiness continued macro-economic challenges, […]

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Source: Currency crisis hits real estate sector – The Standard April 28, 2019

By Thomas Mupfuka

Zimbabwe’s real estate sector is under immense pressure to review rentals in response to the country’s deteriorating economy, which has resulted in rising operating costs, defaults and voids.

First Mutual Properties MD Chris Manyowa, told Standardbusiness continued macro-economic challenges, which had seen some businesses closing shop, were giving players in the real estate business headaches.

“We are trying to respond to the reality of rentals, which were denominated in US dollars in 2018, but in reality they were coming in RTGS,” he said.

“So, the reality of the matter now is that we are looking after a portfolio, which we should ensure that it preserves value and it is only reasonable to renegotiate rentals.

“When we conclude a renegotiation, it must not be for a very long time because there are a lot of uncertainties in terms of, for how long will the current rentals be sustainable?

“The rent you agree on must be sustainable and your review period has to be fairly short, maybe, say, six months up until we have clarity where things are going.”

Manyowa said the real estate sector had agreed to structure rentals suitable to each location.

“We said going by sectors, we have to say office park tenants can never be looked in the same manner as those renting out offices in the central business districts, as industrial and retail supermarkets there has to be a differentiation.

“It is a properly thought-out process where we will try to make sure that any rent proposals are reasonable and match the business affordability.”

Zimbabwe Stock Exchange listed property concern Mashonaland Holdings’ finance director Ndangariro Mutizwa revealed that the introduction of the interbank market rates had led to a change of property valuations from US dollars to RTGS dollar.

“As you are aware, a lot of valuations were denominated in US dollars prior to the monetary policy statement (issued in February),” he said.

“So if you go to Knight Frank or Dawn Property Holdings, they were doing valuations in US dollar.

“The reason why they were doing this is because the RTGS$ and US dollar were at par, but this is no longer in place.

“So, now that we are generating income in RTGS dollar, the valuations will naturally be in RTGS and what needs to happen now is that the property sector needs to play catch-up or they will need to increase rentals such that they can support the valuations.”

Zimbabwe’s property market has shifted notably over the last 18 months as the currency crisis and low investment continue to stunt growth of the sector.

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Chinese to evict scores of villagers

Source: Chinese to evict scores of villagers – The Standard April 28, 2019 SCORES of villagers from Domboshava near Harare face eviction after a Chinese quarry miner took over a mountain in the area where it intends to start mining operations, it has been revealed. Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services deputy minister Energy Mutodi, who […]

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Source: Chinese to evict scores of villagers – The Standard April 28, 2019

SCORES of villagers from Domboshava near Harare face eviction after a Chinese quarry miner took over a mountain in the area where it intends to start mining operations, it has been revealed.

Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services deputy minister Energy Mutodi, who is also the MP for the area, put the number of affected people at 20 000, but the figure could not be independently verified.

The villagers said they suspected that the deal between the Chinese investor China Aihua Jianye, which reportedly intends to invest over US$500 million was mired in corruption.

“Granting of mining rights is the prerogative of the Mines ministry and it’s unfortunate that MPs are not consulted prior to the granting of the rights,” Mutodi said in an interview.

“Once granted, the rights can be set aside by a court of law unless an amicable solution is reached between the company and the other aggrieved parties — in this case the Domboshava residents residing within the 5km radius from the mining site.”

The villagers fear that they might be evicted without any compensation and have vowed to resist the move.

“Something has to be done to stop this company from operating because we cannot be displaced at such a difficult time,” he said.

“Where will we go? Where will we get the money to build new structures?

“What will happen to our children, especially those who will sit for exams this year?” said Tobias Arifadika from Mverechena.

The mountain is close to Mverechena business centre.

A meeting was held last Sunday by village heads and community members where they resolved to explore means of stopping the mine.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government has been aggressively courting investment from China, targeting the mining sector and infrastructure development. Dae lam, tem et odis volupt

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12 companies worth $1,8bn licensed for SEZs

Source: 12 companies worth $1,8bn licensed for SEZs | The Sunday Mail April 28, 2019 Lincoln Towindo Senior Reporter Twelve private companies that have cumulative investment portfolios worth more than $1,8 billion have been licensed to operate ventures ranging from mining to beverage manufacturing in specially designated investment promotion areas. The Zimbabwe Special Economic Zones […]

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Source: 12 companies worth $1,8bn licensed for SEZs | The Sunday Mail April 28, 2019

12 companies worth $1,8bn licensed for SEZs

Lincoln Towindo
Senior Reporter

Twelve private companies that have cumulative investment portfolios worth more than $1,8 billion have been licensed to operate ventures ranging from mining to beverage manufacturing in specially designated investment promotion areas.

The Zimbabwe Special Economic Zones Authority (Zimseza) said the approved projects, which have the potential to generate $600 million annually, are forecast to create 50 000 new jobs.

Government has established special economic zones (SEZs) in six areas.

Victoria Falls is now a tourism and financial hub, while Umvumela and Belmont in Bulawayo have been designated as industrial hubs alongside Kelvin and Donnington corridor, also in Bulawayo.

Beitbridge has been specially designated for logistics, while Sunway City in Harare will be modelled as a hi-tech park.

Fenhill in Mutare is now considered a dry port SEZ.

Zimseza chief executive Mr Edwin Kondo told The Sunday Mail an overwhelming number of applications are being processed.

“Yes, Zimseza has conferred SEZ status to 12 privately owned companies that are also at various stages of operationalisation.

“Statistics show a combined total investment portfolio worth US$1,78 billion, FDI (foreign direct investment) of US$885 million, DI (direct investment) US$143 million, exports US$693 million, employment creation of around 50 000 (direct 8 000 and indirect 42 000) per annum, technology and skills transfer across sectors such as mining, tourism, agriculture and others,” said Mr Kondo.

The licensed companies are involved in black granite mining, cutting and polishing; detergent manufacturing; agro-processing; beverage manufacturing; medical; energy sector; earth-moving equipment and assembly; bolts and nails; chrome mining; and lithium mining.

Mr Kondo indicated that although the statutory body received an “avalanche of enquiries and applications from foreign investors”, some of them failed to meet the set criteria.

It is believed that emphasis is on accretive businesses that have a bias for value addition.

Zimseza, Mr Kondo added, is offering fiscal and non-fiscal incentives to potential investors for a limited period of time. Some of the incentives being offered include zero-rated corporate income tax for the first five years of operation, with a corporate tax rate of 15 percent applying thereafter.

Duty-free imports on capital equipment and exemption from non-residents tax on royalties is also guaranteed.

Investors are also being offered zero-rated capital gains tax and duty-free import of raw materials that are not locally available.

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Zesa tightens surveillance 

Source: Zesa tightens surveillance | The Sunday Mail April 28, 2019 Zesa loses millions of dollars due to its flawed distribution system Tanyaradzwa Rusike Power utility – Zesa Holdings – has begun rolling out a massive security drive to protect its equipment from vandalism and theft, in a move that will see the introduction of […]

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Source: Zesa tightens surveillance | The Sunday Mail April 28, 2019

Zesa tightens surveillanceZesa loses millions of dollars due to its flawed distribution system

Tanyaradzwa Rusike

Power utility – Zesa Holdings – has begun rolling out a massive security drive to protect its equipment from vandalism and theft, in a move that will see the introduction of 24-hour video surveillance, alarms, drones and phasing out of copper cables for aluminium wire.

This comes amid indications that electricity equipment worth $2,7 million has been vandalised so far this year compared to $3,7 million throughout 2018.

Criminals mostly target copper conductors, transformer windings and the oil.

The Sunday Mail has gathered that the power utility is moving in with electronic security gadgets to protect its equipment.

In an interview, Zesa Holding spokesperson Mr Fullard Gwasira said vandalism of electricity equipment was causing power supply interruptions.

“We have lost equipment worth about $2,8 million from the beginning of this year,” he said.

“The organisation is now investing in electronic surveillance system or intruder detection systems such as videofied alarms.

“Other electronic surveillance systems are being installed on distribution transformers and the organisation is also considering the use of drones.”

Mr Gwasira said the electricity company was now phasing out copper cables, which are most sought after by criminals.

“Copper is being replaced with aluminum which has a lower market value and it is not lucrative both locally and internationally,” he said.

“Vandalism and theft of electricity equipment has been retarding network expansion as we continuously replace materials which have been stolen rather than install it in new areas.”

The country continues to lose electricity equipment worth millions of dollars through vandalism and theft despite the crimes attracting a 10 year mandatory sentence.

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Glitter of golden leaf eludes farmers

Source: Glitter of golden leaf eludes farmers | The Sunday Mail April 28, 2019 Workers ferry tobacco bales after the sales at the Boka auction floors in Harare yesterday. Picture by Innocent Makawa Kuda Bwititi Chief Reporter Since the beginning of the tobacco marketing season on March 20 this year, the disappointment by expectant farmers […]

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Source: Glitter of golden leaf eludes farmers | The Sunday Mail April 28, 2019

Glitter of golden leaf eludes farmers
Workers ferry tobacco bales after the sales at the Boka auction floors in Harare yesterday. Picture by Innocent Makawa

Kuda Bwititi
Chief Reporter

Since the beginning of the tobacco marketing season on March 20 this year, the disappointment by expectant farmers continues to grow by the day.

A toxic cocktail of low prices — despite an arguably quality crop — inconvenient payment systems and inordinate delays in effecting payments is frustrating most producers of the golden leaf.

However, growing allegations of well-knit syndicates fronted by fly-by-night “merchants” — who seemingly disguise themselves as saviours of farmers whose bales would have been suspiciously rejected or ridiculously discounted at auction floors, only for them to round-trip the same bales at the same auction floors for relatively higher prices — are now threatening the integrity of the local tobacco marketing system.

It also threatens to kill the goose that lays the golden egg.

And the consequences could be dire.

Huge Knock

The country, which desperately needs foreign currency resources to oil current economic recovery efforts, could, therefore, experience a huge knock in hard-currency earnings.

By the end of last week, signs were ominous.

Latest statistics from the Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board (TIMB) show that farmers have so far delivered 29,3 million kg worth US$51,1 million, compared to 53,9 million kg valued at US$151,1 million in the corresponding period last year.

This represents a massive US$100 million drop in revenues.

Also, the average price of US$1,75 per kg is about 38 percent lower than last year’s price.

Zimbabwe Tobacco Association (ZTA) chief executive officer Mr Rodney Ambrose warns that current challenges at the auction floors could shave US$200 million off the country’s projected revenues for the current marketing season.

“When compared to 2018, with almost 30 million kgs sold, at US$1 per kg less than 2018, the country’s earnings are already US$30 million less. If this trend continues, earnings will drop a staggering US$200 million! (based on a 200 million kgs). Therefore, there is an urgent need for full stakeholder engagement in order to establish the rationale behind the low US-dollar prices,” he said.

Last year, the country earned more than US$920 million from record deliveries of 236 million kgs.

Cartels

But farmers are worried that wheeler dealers who are allegedly conniving with staff at the auction floors to rig prices are benefiting from the fruits of their hard work.

Zimbabwe Farmers Union (ZFU) director Mr Paul Zakaria implored authorities to investigate the suspected cartels.

“It is strange that these cartels are being given free reign at the expense of the struggling farmer. The fact that are some unscrupulous people are allowed to buy the tobacco outside the auction floors, only to resell at the auction floors shows that there is something fundamentally wrong with the system because only those with growers’ numbers should sell the tobacco. The question is who then is giving these unscrupulous buyers the growers’ numbers? There is definitely a lot of connivance and it should be investigated,” he said.

Mr Mwalimu Tarikamu, who grows the cash crop at his Gunguwo Farm in Chiweshe, Mashonaland Central, said although the quality of his crop has remained the same, last year the highest price he got was US$5,80 per kg, compared to US$1,60 per kg this year.

However, most disconcertingly, the payments have been slow while the process of opening nostro accounts is considered cumbersome.

“I arrived last Sunday, sold the crop on Tuesday and to this day, I am yet to be paid a penny. I found the process of opening a nostro account too cumbersome. I have resigned to the fact that I will come back later to pursue my payments . . . I have been begging for food from fellow farmers and sometimes I sleep on an empty stomach,” he said in an interview with The Sunday Mail at Consolidated Tobacco Processors in Harare.

But contention on prevailing tobacco prices is not peculiar to Zimbabwe alone.

Farmers in Malawi — the second-largest producer of tobacco on the continent after Zimbabwe — similarly grumbled over low prices at the Lilongwe Auction Floors last week.

Their marketing season began on Thursday and was officially opened by Malawian President Professor Peter Mutharika and his Tanzanian counterpart, President John Magufuli.

The highest price for tobacco on the opening day was US$2,20 and US$2,30 on auction and contract markets, respectively, while the lowest price was US90 cents.

Malawi, which similarly experienced inclement weather conditions during the 2018/2019 summer cropping season, is expected to eclipse its Southern African peer.

Estimates suggest it will haul more than 205 million kgs of the golden leaf.

However, TIMB expects local deliveries to top 200 million kgs.

Delays

Government has tried to bend over backwards for tobacco farmers by increasing the foreign currency retention threshold from the initially proposed 30 percent to 50 percent.

During last year’s marketing season, the threshold stood at 20 percent.

The remainder is also credited at the prevailing interbank rate, which presently stands at 3:1 to the US dollar.

But to access the money, tobacco farmers — the bulk of who are communal small-scale producers — have to open a separate nostro foreign currency account.

But the farmers can only access cash at a rate of 50 cents per kg of tobacco sold, and up to a maximum of $300, including withdrawing US10 cents per kg per sale, up to a maximum of US$50.

Therein lies the problem.

It is argued that process is as cumbersome as it is burdensome.

ZTA believes Government’s “favourable grower-viability policies” have been affected by both payment delays and low prices.

“Payment systems need to be improved. While RTGS-dollar payments are being made in reasonable time-frames, growers are finding the process of claiming their USD entitlements complicated. It is our recommendation that settlement of USD entitlements should be at the point of sale, as with RTGS sales proceeds. In this way, a grower is paid his or her full value for their tobacco at the point of sale within 48 hours,” said Mr Ambrose.

He added: “Grower viability is seriously under threat and so is future production.

“We are concerned about the very USD low prices prevailing both on the auction and contract floors, and it’s very concerning too, that apart from two contractors, the seasonal USD averages for merchants and buyers are all under US$2 per kg. We don’t believe that the crop is of a significantly lower quality when compared to previous seasons. There is also reduced global supply. This season there have been favourable grower-viability policies in the form of a rate of exchange, a portion of seasonal loans repayable in the form of RTGS dollar at 1:1 and a USD entitlement; however, all these are being negated by the prevailing low US-dollar prices.”

The Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement recently visited the auction floors on a fact-finding mission.

It will submit its recommendations when Parliament resumes sitting on May 7.

TIMB chief executive officer Dr Andrew Matibiri could not be reached by the time of going to print.

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More China investments coming to Zim

Source: More China investments coming to Zim | The Sunday Mail April 28, 2019 Ambassador Guo Shaochun I arrived in Harare last month and I have already had a deep impression of the beautiful scenery, pleasant climate and wonderful people of Zimbabwe. I am especially moved by the friendship that Zimbabwean people extend to me, […]

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Source: More China investments coming to Zim | The Sunday Mail April 28, 2019

More China investments coming to Zim

Ambassador Guo Shaochun

I arrived in Harare last month and I have already had a deep impression of the beautiful scenery, pleasant climate and wonderful people of Zimbabwe.

I am especially moved by the friendship that Zimbabwean people extend to me, my family and the Chinese people.

China and Zimbabwe are far apart in geography, but we feel close to each other emotionally and psychologically.

Before coming here, I was director general of the consular department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China and one of my important missions is to promote people to people exchanges between China and foreign countries.

Last year, Zimbabwe Government decided to adopt a visa-on-arrival policy to Chinese visitors.

This policy is bringing more Chinese tourists to Zimbabwe and promoting the mutual understanding between the people of our two countries.

This is just an example of our expanding cooperation across a wide range of areas.

China is the biggest and rising developing country and Africa is the rising continent that has the largest number of developing countries.

It is, therefore, important to have an in-depth understanding of China-Africa relations.

China-Africa relationship started in ancient times.

The great Chinese navigator Zhenghe led seven ocean expeditions and he reached as far as today’s Mozambique, east coast of Africa.

Porcelain and other precious artifacts unearthed from the ruins of the Great Zimbabwe also evidenced that there were exchanges between China and Zimbabwe a thousand years ago.

China-Africa relations significantly accelerated after World War II, when the struggle for self-determination and independence was sweeping across the world.

As early as 1950s and 1960s, China began to provide strong political, moral and material support to African people in their revolutionary struggle.

We trained thousands of freedom fighters for Zimbabwe in the Tanzanian military camp as well as in China.

Even today, some veteran soldiers of Zimbabwe who received military training in China can still sing the song of the Chinese People’s liberation Army.

During that period, Africa also gave enormous support to China.

In 1971, with majority support from African countries, the 26th General Assembly of the United Nations adopted a resolution that restored the legal seat of the People’s Republic of China in the UN Security Council.

In the words of late Chairman Mao, “it is our African brothers who carried us into the United Nations”.

The second climax in China-Africa relations came around the start of the new millennium when China and Africa established the FOCAC (Forum on China-Africa Cooperation) mechanism in 2000.

Since then, China-Africa cooperation has made huge progress in all areas, especially in the economic sphere.

China has been the biggest trading partner of Africa for nine consecutive years, with the trade volume of US$204.2 billion in 2018.

The trade between the two sides is roughly balanced, with China’s export to Africa at US$104,9 billion and China’s import from Africa at US$99,38 billion.

China enjoys a small surplus of US$5,63 billion.

China’s accumulated investment to Africa has grown from less than US$100 million in 2000 to today’s over US$100 billion.

What are the reasons and drivers behind China-Africa booming cooperation? The reasons can be summarised by three “C”s.

The First “C” represents the “call”, meaning that China has responded to the calls for development of African countries.

It is common sense that a country needs a huge amount of capital and a series of infrastructure construction in its economic takeoff and early stage of industrialisation.

African countries are no exception. The assistance that China provides as its ability permits, is a response to the call of African countries.

Only by realising self-sustainable development, could Africa end poverty and conflict, and achieve durable peace and stability.

The Second “c” stands for “capacity”. It is not enough to help others simply with passion.

Capacity and ability are essential. This year marks the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China.

Over the past 70 years, China has traversed an extraordinary path, making outstanding achievements in its economic and social development.

What is the recipe for China’s success so far?

The core reason, I would say, is the leadership of the Chinese Community Party, which is the backbone of the nation.

Ever since modern times, China has made numerous trials and errors and only after we had the leadership of the Communist Party, the nations has achieved independence and grown prosperous and strong.

The Communist Party of China is the choice of history and the choice of the Chinese people.

Certainly, the Chinese Communist Party had stumbles, setbacks and made mistakes, but it has the courage to admit mistakes, make corrections and charge on.

It has kept renewing itself to stay abreast with the times. And it has maintained close links with the Chinese people.

President Xi Jinping has given the best explanation of this point.

He said, “The aspirations of the people to live a better life must always be the focus of our efforts.”

In the past 70 years, China had grown from a low-income country that could barely provide food and clothing to its people to a middle-income country enjoying moderate prosperity.

At least 740 million people have been lifted out of poverty; the middle-income population is now more than 300 million; the world’s largest social security system has been established covering old-age pension, health care, basic allowances and welfare housing.

In addition the average life expectancy has gone up from 67.8 in 1981 to 76.7 in 2017.

With the development of China, we have been able to put more resources to China-Africa cooperation.

During the Johannesburg summit of FOCAC in 2015, China provided US$60 billion to African countries.

And at the Beijing Summit of FOCAC last year, China pledged another US$60 billion to promote the development of Africa focusing on 8 major areas, namely industrial promotion, infrastructure connectivity, trade facilitation, green development, capacity building, health, people-to-people exchanges and peace and security.

A growing China will naturally bring more opportunities and benefits to Africa.

The third “c” stands for “circumstances” or “condition”.

We have the right conditions for the development of China-Africa relations.

The salient features of China-Africa relations are equality, sincerity, mutual respect and win-win results.

China sees Africa as equal. We always advocate that countries, big or small, rich or poor are equal members of the international community.

We oppose the big bullying the small or the rich oppressing the poor.

We are against unilateral and illegal sanctions rudely applied against other countries.

In engaging with African countries, we apply a five- “no”-approach, as clearly elaborated by President Xinping at the 2018 Beijing Summit of FOCAC, that is: no interference in African countries’ pursuit of development paths that fit their national conditions; no interference in African countries’ internal affairs; no imposition of our will on African countries; no attachment of political strings to assistance to Africa; and no seeking of selfish political gains in investment and financing cooperation with Africa.

This five – “no”- approach shows the respect for Africa and we will always take Africa’s interests into consideration and never pursue “China first” policy.

These form the political trust and right atmosphere for China-Africa relations to blossom and yield fruits.

However, China-Africa relations are not without growing pains or headwinds.

Some countries or people have been accusing China of setting a debt trap for African countries by providing burdensome loans to them. I would say this is utterly groundless.

The debt issue of Africa is a complex historic issue and China is never the culprit to blame.

In fact and according to statistics, from 2000 to 2016, the debt owed to China only accounts for 1,8 percent of the total external debt of African countries.

If we take a closer look at the African countries that are heavily in debt, China is not their main creditor.

Take Zimbabwe as an example, as high as 77 percent of its government debt are owed to the Paris Club and other multilateral creditors, not to China.

On the contrary, China always conducts a careful feasibility study and market research, so that each project will deliver economic and social benefits as expected.

While some countries keep on claiming that they worry about Africa’s debt problem, they are not willing to provide financial resources or make investment in Africa, or worse still, they impose sanctions on African countries, holding back the economy and making ordinary people suffer.

Some countries or people also accuse China of looting African resources as “neo-colonists”.

China does buy natural resources from Africa, but this trade pattern exists between Africa and its other major trading partners as well.

China and Africa trade according to market rules and on a willing buyer willing seller basis.

Moreover, China is now doing more to add value to the natural resources of Africa by setting up processing plants in Africa.

China has no intention and no ability of monopolising Africa’s cooperation with the international community.

We welcome all efforts that can truly help Africa’s development and look forward to working with countries around the world to help Africa develop.

Only African people have the final say over whether China-Africa cooperation is good or bad.

Zimbabwe is a jewel of Africa and also a strategic partner of China.

We established diplomatic ties on the day of Zimbabwe’s declaration of independence.

Since then, great changes took place in both our countries, but our friendship has remained strong and steadfast.

We always appreciate the adherence to the “One-China” principle by Zimbabwe and Zimbabwe always cherishes the valuable support China gave it when China vetoed the proposed UN Security Council resolution to impose sanctions on Zimbabwe, which has been the first and so far the only time China exercised veto power in the Security Council for an African country.

In recent years, China-Zimbabwe relations have gained substantial momentum and progress on multiple fronts.

Our political mutual trust has been further cemented with frequent high-level exchange of visits.

Last year, President ED Mnangagwa paid visits to China twice and he agreed with President Xi Jinping to elevate our bilateral relationship to the comprehensive strategic partnership of cooperation, which marked a new era of the relationship.

Our practical cooperation was boosted by the completion or taking off of some mega projects.

One is the Victoria Falls International Airport expansion project, which solidifies the position of the city as regional hub for aviation.

It is also a significant contributor to the tourism revenue of Zimbabwe, which recorded 2,6 million tourist arrivals last year, up 12 percent from the previous year.

Zimbabwe has been recommended recently by multiple international agencies as the must-visit place and one of the major reasons for the recommendation is the upgraded Victoria Falls International Airport.

Now the Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport is also being upgraded and renovated with the assistance of China.

China also helped finance and complete the Kariba South power plant expansion project, which added 300MW to the national grid of Zimbabwe, bringing down the bill of electricity import of Zimbabwe by half for every month.

Another big project, Hwange Thermal Power Station expansion is underway and will be completed in less than three years.

By the time of completion, it will have created 3 000 jobs for Zimbabweans and add another 600 MW to Zimbabwe and help it gain energy sufficiency.

Chinese companies have made significant contribution to the Zimbabwean society.

They employ tens of thousands of local people and generate big amount of tax revenue and export earnings for Zimbabwe.

Take the Tianze tobacco company, as an example, it invested in Zimbabwe in 2005 when the Zimbabwean tobacco industry was in deep recession.

It then went into contract with local farmers and also purchased tobacco from the local auction place.

It is now the single biggest buyer of Zimbabwe tobacco, with the total purchase accounting for half of the total production of Zimbabwean tobacco.

Last year, tobacco production hit a record high of over 240 000 kgs in history and it is widely accepted that the Chinese investment contributed enormously to the recovery of the tobacco industry.

The Tianze Company has 76 employees in total, only 7 from China and the rest being all Zimbabweans.

Each year the Chinese government and company provides hundreds of government scholarships and training opportunities for Zimbabwean outstanding students and professional to study or improve in China.

We have sent 16 batches of medical doctors to Zimbabwe since 1985. Now ten doctors are based in the Parirenyatwa Hospital in Harare and each year they perform 500 surgical operations on average and treat hundreds of thousands of patients of Zimbabwe.

Recently, when Cyclone Idai hit Zimbabwe, the Zimbabwean Government issued an urgent appeal for help to the international community.

China responded with swiftness and sincerity.

The Chinese government immediately donated US$800 000 cash to the Zimbabwean Government and the Chinese community in Zimbabwe also instantly mobilized material supplies worth US$350,000 for the affected people.

This year, we are going to drill 500 boreholes and donate 10 165 tonnes of rice to the Zimbabwean people.

We hope our efforts will help Zimbabwean people to recover from the disaster and continue on its path to a better future.

Going forward, China will continue to enhance China-Africa and China-Zimbabwe practical cooperation as well as cultural and people-to-people exchanges to take our relations to a higher level.

We will encourage more Chinese enterprises to invest in Zimbabwe in accordance with market rules to help Zimbabwe’s economic development.

There is an African saying that reads, “walk alone if you want to go fast; and walk together if you want to go far.”

Let us join hands to bring more benefits to both Chinese and African people and together make the world a better place to live.

The Second Belt and Road Initiative for International Corporation has been successfully held in Beijing and a series of cooperative measures have been put in place.

We strongly believe that Zimbabwe and China will continue to work together under the framework of BRI and FOCAC to continuously push forward cooperation and raise bilateral relations to a higher level.

Ambassador Guo is Chinese Ambassador to Zimbabwe. He wrote this article for The Sunday Mail.

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Chiefs reject ED’s Gukurahundi plan 

Source: Chiefs reject ED’s Gukurahundi plan – The Standard April 28, 2019 BY NQOBANI NDLOVU President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s cocktail of measures to pacify the south-western parts of the country that bore the brunt of the 1980s massacres by the army have been greeted by strident opposition from traditional leaders. Mnangagwa early this month, through Justice […]

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Source: Chiefs reject ED’s Gukurahundi plan – The Standard April 28, 2019

BY NQOBANI NDLOVU

President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s cocktail of measures to pacify the south-western parts of the country that bore the brunt of the 1980s massacres by the army have been greeted by strident opposition from traditional leaders.

Mnangagwa early this month, through Justice secretary Virginia Mabhiza, announced that the government would facilitate the acquisition of death certificates for Gukurahundi victims and identity documents for survivors.

The government also announced that remains of victims buried in mass and shallow graves would be exhumed for reburial, but chiefs from Matabeleland and
Midlands say they are against anyone “tampering with evidence of the massacres.”

According to sources, Matabeleland and Midlands chiefs met the Matebeleland Collective (MC), a group of civil society groups that extracted the concessions
from Mnangagwa, at a lodge in Bulawayo last Thursday where they made their position known.

From the Midlands chiefs Sigodo, and Mafala attended the meeting while Gampu, Nyangazonke and Ndiweni represented Matabeleland.
Nyangazonke, Ndiweni and Mathema in separate interviews said traditional leaders were not against the MC as an independent body, but the process government announced through the group on low it wants to address the emotive issue without any acknowledgement and apology.

“There was a lot of reaction against the MC on why they had the meeting with the president to discuss Gukurahundi in the first place,” Ndiweni said while
confirming the meeting.

“We took all that criticism on board since we are the sounding board for the concerns of the people.

“For us, we had to meet them to find out what they were saying and doing.

“However, our position is absolutely very clear that there must not be a single exhumation under any circumstance.

“That is premature; we are saying there is a known record internationally of undertaking this process wherever genocide has taken place. Rwanda for example.”

Ndiweni said the exhumations that are expected to start in Tsholotsho this week would contaminate the evidence.

“I repeat: Absolutely under no circumstances must there be a single exhumation,” he said.

“The minute you do that you have tainted the evidence, you have corrupted the evidence. That evidence will not be accepted in a court of law.

“The minute you do that there will never be any truth-telling.”

Mathema from Matabeleland South said traditional leaders expected truthtelling and acknowledgement of the massacres to be central in resolving the Gukurahundi issue.

“As chiefs, this is part of the conversation that we will take on board, and try and meet the government of the day on how to formulate a roadmap on addressing
Gukurahundi,” he said.

“We have been engaging the MC, but we are clear that there must, first, be an acknowledgement and an apology and we then move forward. There must be
truthtelling.

“How do you even say you are addressing Gukurahundi without an acknowledgment? What are you addressing? As for the victims, how do you ask them to forgive
without apologising?

“They apologise to who, and for what? That must be very clear.”

Nyangazonke weighed in saying the chiefs wanted a meeting with Mnangagwa.

“As chiefs, we are saying we want to independently meet the president about this, and do things differently,” he said.

“We feel chiefs are better placed to handle this as they have a constituency unlike the MC, as, for example, on exhumations, on whose land will this take
place?

“Some of the things that the MC agreed on with government cannot be undertaken without the blessing of the chiefs.
“The Gukurahundi issue is becoming a dog-eat-dog matter, a money-making project.

“For us, it is not about the money, but that [addressing Gukurahundi] is our role as the chiefs to undertake. We are going to be different in the way we
address this.”

The traditional leaders said the people who suffered most from the brutal campaign by the North Korean-trained Fifth Brigade were in the rural areas, but they were not consulted.

“Gukurahundi happened in the communal areas, under our jurisdiction, not in towns where they agreed on some of the formulas of addressing it,” Nyangazonke
said.

“It is their right, and we cannot stop them, but when they come to the communal areas, to our areas of jurisdiction, they will understand what we mean.”

Jenni Williams, one of the MC coordinators, also confirmed the meeting, but said they would continue engaging the traditional leaders for a solution to the
Gukurahundi issue.

“We have had many meetings with chiefs over the past years on Gukurahundi,” she said.

“The engagements have been ongoing, and last week’s meeting is no different.

“We will continue to do so, also with other stakeholders. That is an ongoing conversation.”
The MC met Mnangagwa at the Bulawayo State House last month where they made demands that government must address issues arising from Gukurahundi.

Human rights groups say at least 20 000 people died after former president Robert Mugabe unleashed the Fifth Brigade in Matabeleland and Midlands in 1983 to
track down dissidents that are said have numbered less than 100.

The killings only ended when Zapu, led by late vice-president Joshua Nkomo, whose supporters were the main target of the pogrom, agreed to merge with Mugabe’s
Zanu PF in 1987.

Mngangagwa’s spokesperson George Charamba recently caused a furore when he told this publication in an interview that Gukurahundi was a war, pitting two armed
sides.

He was reacting to accusations that Mnangagwa was an architect of the killings.

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Tollgate fees to go up

Source: Tollgate fees to go up – The Standard April 28, 2019 BY VENERANDA LANGA The government is reviewing tollgate fees due to inflation in a move that is set to pile misery on motorists who already have to contend with high fuel prices. Transport minister Joel Biggie Matiza yesterday said the new tollgate fees […]

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Source: Tollgate fees to go up – The Standard April 28, 2019

BY VENERANDA LANGA

The government is reviewing tollgate fees due to inflation in a move that is set to pile misery on motorists who already have to contend with high fuel prices.

Transport minister Joel Biggie Matiza yesterday said the new tollgate fees were likely to come into effect next month alongside higher motor vehicle insurance charges.

“Definitely government is planning to increase tollgate fees soon, but we do not have the figures yet because we need to do consultations with various stakeholders, and once we have done that, then the increase will be announced,” Matiza said.

“The money collected will go towards the road fund, and the increase is imperative because the prices of materials used for roads have increased, and even the price of bread is far much more than tollgate fees.”

Matiza added: “Vehicle licence and insurance fees will also increase.

“We cannot say when, but it will be soon because the prices of everything have increased.”

In 2010 the government increased toll fees to $1 for light motor vehicles, $2 for minibuses, $3 for buses, $4 for heavy vehicles and $5 for haulage trucks.
In 2014 there was a further increase of 100% and light vehicles are now being charged $2 to pass through tollgates, kombis and mini buses $3, buses $4, heavy vehicles $5 and haulage trucks $10.

For a motorist to pass through the five tollgates between Harare and Bulawayo, they will need to pay $10.

Passenger’s Association of Zimbabwe president Tafadzwa Goliati said any increases in tollgate fees would be resisted because ordinary people could not continue to subsidise government.

“We do not encourage increases in tollgate fees because workers’ salaries have remained stagnant,” he said.

“What they are simply saying is that we motorists now need to supplement government in terms of revenue, instead of them subsidising us.
“We are not happy with the increments that they are talking about and we will resist them from all corners.

“The money collected from tollgates is also going to Zinara, which is saddled with corruption and has not been putting the collections to good use.”

Goliath said the responsibility to collect tollgate fees must be removed from Zinara and given to local authorities so that the money collected would be distributed equitably.

A recent audit revealed massive corruption at Zinara where prominent politicians were implicated.

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‘China’s BRI tonic for ED economic vision’

Source: ‘China’s BRI tonic for ED economic vision’ | The Sunday Mail April 28, 2019 Kuda Bwititi Chief Reporter China’s signature foreign trade policy, the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), is set to accelerate President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s drive to establish an upper middle-income economy within the next 11 years, a Cabinet Minister has said. In […]

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Source: ‘China’s BRI tonic for ED economic vision’ | The Sunday Mail April 28, 2019

Kuda Bwititi

Chief Reporter

China’s signature foreign trade policy, the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), is set to accelerate President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s drive to establish an upper middle-income economy within the next 11 years, a Cabinet Minister has said.

In her remarks in Beijing at a high-level BRI meeting attended by several ministers from around the world, Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa said BRI had come at the most opportune time as it feeds into the country’s Vision 2030. A brainchild of China’s President Xi Jinping, BRI aims to re-create the ancient Silk Road trade routes with the rest of the world and open up trade opportunities worth trillions of dollars.

“My President (Emmerson Mnangagwa) has the grand national vision to transform Zimbabwe into a modern middle-income country by 2030. To achieve this noble goal, he is championing the mantra ‘Zimbabwe Is Open for Business’. He is keenly determined that Zimbabwe attracts the foreign direct investment that is key to fulfil his national vision. He has duly instructed his people to learn from global best practice and to proceed to excel in offering the most hospitable climate to enterprising global capital.”

BRI, she added, essentially shows China’s ambition to share economic growth with developing countries.

Minister Mutsvangwa – who spent several years in Beijing when her husband, Ambassador Christopher Mutsvangwa, was Zimbabwe’s top envoy to China – described the world’s second-biggest economy’s meteoric rise to prosperity as “the most frenetic pace of economic changes ever in the history of humankind”.

She said Zimbabwe seeks to be “a good partner” to China under the BRI.

“My nation of Zimbabwe knows this Chinese attribute of China as a well-meaning friend. Indeed ours is a case study and my presence here speaks volumes of our eagerness to learn and share without imagined fear or prejudice.”

In his speech at the summit’s closing yesterday, President Xi said deals worth more than US$64 billion had been signed last week alone, with more deals expected to be penned in the coming years.

In a separate interview with The Sunday Mail, China’s Ambassador to Zimbabwe Guo Shaochun said Harare is poised for massive spin-offs from BRI.

“The second BRI summit in Beijing has been very successful. It intends to connect China to the world through five pillars, which are policy coordination, trade connectivity, financial connectivity, infrastructure connectivity and people-to-people connectivity.

“Zimbabwe and China are close friends and recently our relations were elevated from all-weather friends to comprehensive strategic partnership.

“The BRI provides the framework to raise our relations to an even higher level. We want to challenge the Zimbabwean Government, through their technocrats, to work out the strategies with us, on how we can elevate the relations,” he said.

Beijing, he added, will continue to push Chinese enterprises to invest in the country in order to promote economic development.

The envoy believes the ease of doing business reforms has the potential to attract more investments. The BRI summit, which attracted more than 37 leaders from Europe, Africa, Asia and Latin America and senior government officials from over 100 countries, ended yesterday

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