We’re transitioning from political independence to prosperity

14 Apr, 2024 - 00:04 0 Views
We’re transitioning from political independence to prosperity

The Sunday Mail

AS a country, we are just six years shy of our Golden Jubilee, which, coincidentally, will be marked in 2030, by which time Zimbabwe is expected to be modern, highly industrialised and prosperous.

There are already telling signs that the journey is well underway.

That this year’s main Independence Day celebrations will be held in Murambinda, Manicaland province — the third time they will be held outside Harare since 1980 after Bulawayo and Mashonaland Central province — is an indication that the Government is willing to walk the talk on devolving Government power, as well as leaving no place and no one behind.

Most symbolically, on Thursday, President Mnangagwa will preside over the main Independence Day celebrations in Murambinda, particularly at the same venue he promised Zimbabweans during a rally on May 19, 2018 that his administration would be able to deliver new ideas, jobs and opportunities.

“This is a new Zimbabwe; a new Zimbabwe with new leadership; new leadership with new ideas, new ideas to develop a new Zimbabwe,” he said then.

“Zimbabwe is in good hands, Zimbabwe will now deliver, Zimbabwe will give jobs, and Zimbabwe will create jobs.

“Our lives will be transformed. Government is saying economics first, politics second.”

On the same day, he also promised to complete the construction of Marovanyati Dam, a project that had been mothballed for years, in order to provide succor to the predominantly semi-arid area.

True to his promise, the dam was commissioned on November 11, 2020.

Not only is it providing water to Murambinda Growth Point, but it is also supporting various economic activities such as fisheries and irrigation, helping provide a lifeline for many families who previously faced an uncertain future.

In January this year, we carried the story of 75-year-old Gogo Angela Muzambezi, who was widowed in 1990 but is now eking out a living from the Murambinda Irrigation Scheme, which is flourishing after the construction of Marovanyati Dam was completed.

But there are various other transformative projects in the area.

Thanks to the pro-business environment since the advent of the Second Republic, the establishment and operationalisation of the US$130 million Sabi Star Lithium Mine has been momentous. More than 900 Zimbabweans have been employed at the mining operation, which is also expected to anchor the multimillion-dollar Mapinga Mines-to-Energy Industrial Park.

In addition, the Government expects further positive spillover effects to both surrounding communities and the nation.

Another lithium mine, Bikita Minerals, has already set aside US$10 million to construct a bridge over Save River to connect Manicaland and Masvingo provinces, thereby facilitating trade and commerce.

But this is not all.

For example, in the last five years, Verify Engineering has opened a medical oxygen plant at Feruka in Mutare, which is already supplying the gas to some countries in the region.

This has been emblematic of the Second Republic, which continues to forge ahead despite being encumbered by debilitating sanctions imposed by countries such as the United States and the United Kingdom, renewing hope that Zimbabwe will achieve its ambitious targets within the next six years.

President Mnangagwa described the past week as “a milestone week for the mining sector in Zimbabwe”. The developments that took place are quite instructive.

On Wednesday, the President commissioned the Pickstone Peerless Mine’s underground operations in Chegutu, Mashonaland West province, a project that has added another 530 new jobs.

The mine is owned by Dallaglio, a mining unit of Padenga Holdings, which also revived Eureka Gold Mine in Guruve, Mashonaland Central province, in 2021.

And on Friday, the President officially commissioned the Yahua Group Kamativi lithium mining and processing operation in Matabeleland North province.

The Chinese investor has so far injected US$100 million of the planned US$249 million into the project.

But most importantly, the operation now employs over 1 200 people and will generate more than US$300 million annually when it becomes fully operational. All this is critical to our economy, and most particularly our ambitious developmental agenda, especially at a time when we are experiencing headwinds from the El Niño-induced drought and falling commodity prices.

The gains likely to be realised as new lithium operations come on line will temper the anticipated drop in revenues in other mining sub-sectors.

It has to be noted that the country’s lithium exports rose by a remarkable 855 percent to US$674 million last year, up from a modest US$70,6 million in 2022.

This makes the theme for this year’s Independence Day celebrations — Zim@44: Unity, Peace and Development Towards Vision 2030 — all the more relevant and meaningful.

Progressively, we continue to fulfil the aspirations of the liberation struggle by transitioning from political independence to economic prosperity, thereby honouring the sacrifice of both our living and departed heroes.

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