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Zimbabwe resumes diamond sales after one-year break

HARARE Zimbabwe (Xinhua) -- Zimbabwe has resumed diamond auctions after a one-year beak, with a test sale that closed last week realizing 829,067 U.S. dollars.

Mines Minister Winston Chitando refused to disclose the amount of gems sold at the test sale, but indicated that the country had accumulated a stock pile of 1.558 million carats during the break from March to December 2017 which will now go for sale in March and April, 2018.

The March sale will run from March 5 to 16, the minister said.

He said the test sale was attended by 13 out of 49 invited international buyers drawn from countries including Belgium, Botswana, Dubai, India, and South Africa.

“This sale was meant to test the market and to appreciate the economic forces at play in the market environment,” Chitando told a press conference.

The state-owned Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company, formed by government in 2016 after the consolidation of seven firms that were mining gems in Marange in eastern Zimbabwe, is mining the gems.

He said the ZCDC was expected to conduct regular diamond auctions throughout 2018 and that the ZCDC and the Minerals Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe were working on a sales calendar to enable diamond buyers to plan in advance.

“The tenders are and will be conducted on the basis of a reserve price,” the minister said.

According to the minister, the ZCDC suspended diamond sales in March 2017 to facilitate reorientation and capacitation of downstream value management processes as well as to ensure adequate time to align the country’s value addition, marketing, and sales framework to international best practice.

Zimbabwe’s diamond production has been declining over the years from about 12 million carats in 2012 with miners citing dwindling alluvial diamond deposits.

The country said last week it was talking with neighboring Botswana, which has a far more developed diamond industry, to assist it in adding value to its gems which are currently being sold in raw form. 



Zimbabwe president commissions equipment to help revive state rail company

HARARE Zimbabwe (Xinhua) -- Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa on Wednesday commissioned railway equipment under a 400 million U.S. dollar investment deal with South Africa’s rail utility Transnet.

Under the deal to revive the country’s dilapidated rail system, state railway company the National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) will get 13 locomotives, 200 wagons and 34 passenger coaches as part of government efforts to recapitalize the company.

Mnangagwa commissioned the first batch of the equipment comprising more than half of the equipment and its delivery comes after Transnet last year struck a deal with the Zimbabwe Diaspora Infrastructure Development Group.

Mnangagwa commended the delivery of the refurbished equipment, saying it will help in the revival of the economy through improving efficiency in transportation of both cargo and passengers.

“This development is commendable as it resonates well with our vision to grow our economy,” the president said at the launch of the equipment in Zimbabwe’s second largest city of Bulawayo.

He said an efficient rail system was essential to growing Zimbabwe’s economy and also helped to integrate the country into regional markets.

He expressed government’s commitment to modernizing the country’s railway system and building of new rail networks which penetrate into the region.

Such infrastructure would not only benefit the country but the region as a whole, he said.

Transport minister Joram Gumbo said the rest of the equipment under the deal was expected in the country before end of April.

He said the deal offered a comprehensive solution to the recovery of NRZ, which requires 1.7 billion U.S. dollars to be fully recapitalized.

“The situation on the ground requires urgent attention as NRZ is a critical enabler to the growth of our economy. All the investors that we are attracting require a viable railway system to support anticipated growth in import and and export traffic,” he said.


AU says to offer electoral support to Zimbabwe

HARARE Zimbabwe (Xinhua) -- The visiting African Union Commission chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat on Tuesday concluded his three-day visit to Zimbabwe and said the AU will offer technical support to help Zimbabwe conduct polls set for mid this year.

“The AU stands ready to support Zimbabwe in the electoral process. A team from the AU will be coming to Zimbabwe to work with the organization responsible for elections,” Mahamat said at a joint press conference with foreign affairs minister Sibusiso Moyo.

He said the AU will mobilize partners to offer financial and technical support for the elections which come after a peaceful transition of power last November.

Former President Robert Mugabe resigned in November last year after a military intervention and was replaced by President Emmerson Mnangagwa.

Mahamat hailed the peaceful transition and said as part of its responsibilities, the AU will offer technical support to the transitional government to ensure peace and stability in the country.

“The transition was publicly supported by the people of Zimbabwe so we are here to support the authorities,” he said.

During the visit, Mahamat, who was accompanied by the AU commissioner for political affairs Minata Samate Cessouma, met Mnangagwa, some cabinet ministers and paid a courtesy call on Mugabe. Cessouma held discussions with officials from the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission.

Mahamat said he exchanged views with Mugabe who explained to him the reasons why he resigned after 37 years in power. Mugabe, he said, told him that he had resigned to ensure peace and development of Zimbabwe.

Mahamat said he had taken stock of the situation in Zimbabwe as well as assessing the country’s preparedness to hold the upcoming elections.

“I am generally satisfied with the visit and discussions we have had and also the authorities of Zimbabwe have committed themselves to various actions to open up the political and democratic space to ensure that free, fair, transparent and credible elections are organized in the country,” he said.

Moyo said the AU chair noted that the successful holding of free and fair elections would help end Zimbabwe’s isolation and unlock assistance from the international community.



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