Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa has given Bulawayo, once the country’s industrial hub but now a pale shadow of its former self, some hope. He says the government has lined up a number of deals for the resuscitation of the city, one of the opposition hubs in the country.
“We are on the brink of flying. Sanctions or no sanctions, no one will stand in our way. We are a sleeping giant,” he told a rally in Bulawayo yesterday according to The Sunday News.
The deals include the resuscitation of the Cold Storage Company, once one of the biggest meat processing factories in Africa; the National Railways of Zimbabwe, at one time, one of the biggest employers in the country; and the Matebeleland Zambezi Water Project which could turn Matebeleland from Binga to Beitbridge into a green belt.
“When President Mugabe went to Nigeria for the inauguration of President Buhari, he also visited Equatorial Guinea where he held talks with his friend, President Nguema. Equatorial Guinea is a very rich small country, which has a lot of oil. President Mugabe’s friend expressed they would want beef from Zimbabwe and he said yes. At the moment, they are getting their meat from Argentina. On Thursday, we had a Cabinet meeting and we agreed to inject money to revive the Cold Storage Company,” Mnangagwa said.
“We would want to capture that market we have been given by Equatorial Guinea. Instead of them getting their meat from Argentina, they should start getting it from us. After injecting money into CSC, we will create employment and resuscitate the beef industry in Zimbabwe. This region has a conducive environment for cattle-ranching and when we revive the beef industry, it will come with a lot of downstream benefits.
“South Africa sent their Minister of Water who met and convinced Kasukuwere on their proposal. They want to work with us to get water from the Zambezi. They will give us money, which we will use to implement the Zambezi Water Project. That project will pass through this region, going to South Africa with South Africa paying us for the water. Matabeleland region will also benefit from the project, and water problems in Bulawayo will be addressed.”
Mnangagwa added: “There are a lot of global companies looking for relocation. We have conducted a study on what attracts companies to a country and we are working on making the environment conducive for these companies. These big companies already have markets around the globe and are looking for areas to set up base in and operate from. We have selected Bulawayo as one of our Special Economic Zones, which will benefit from the relocation of these companies. The relocation of these companies will benefit the city in terms of employment-creation, among other things.”
He said that Zimbabwe had engaged India to rehabilitate the local rail network and construct new railroads to increase exports via Mozambique’s ports. Japan was also interested in buying Zimbabwe’s coal.