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XINHUA NEWS SERVICE REPORTS FROM THE AFRICAN CONTINENT

 

Zimbabwe government signs Multibillion-dollar
mining investment deal with Chinese company

by Gretinah Machingura HARARE Zimbabwe (Xinhua) -- Zimbabwe on Tuesday signed a multibillion-dollar mining deal with China’s Tsingshan that will see the Chinese firm mining chrome, iron ore, nickel and coal in Zimbabwe.

The deal, whose initial phase will cost two billion U.S. dollars before rising to between 5 and 10 billion dollars, may also involve lithium mining, establishment of a power plant and construction of a railway line to the port.

The two countries initially signed the deal last year at a cost of 1 billion dollars but on Tuesday, the two countries signed the new agreement expanding the scope of the original MOU.

Mines Minister Winston Chitando signed on behalf of the Zimbabwe government while Chen Shangsong signed on behalf of Tsingshan.

Chitando said the deal, to be implemented over years, will see the establishment of a two million tonnes steel plant in Mvuma, with the initial phase producing one million tonnes of carbon steel and the second phase producing another one million tonnes of stainless steel.

"The initial MOU signed last year was targeting to produce 550,000 tonnes of ferrochrome for consumption in Mvuma only but we are now targeting 1 million tones for consumption in Mvuma and for export," Chitando said.

The initial deal targeted production of coke specifically for stainless steel operations in Mvuma but now this will be for Mvuma consumption and exports as well.

There will be conversion of coking coal to coke, construction of power plant and provision of a lithium concession for mining and value addition by Tsingshan, Chitando said.

"The MOU will also include Tshingshan looking into the possibility of working with government and other institutions in exploring construction of a railway line to the port," Chitando said.

Chen said the project will create about 30,000 jobs, adding his company was more confident to invest in Zimbabwe due to the support it has received from the Zimbabwe government since 2013.

"We are confident to invest more in Zimbabwe in the future," Chen said during the signing ceremony that was also attended by President Emmerson Mnangagwa and several other cabinet ministers.
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Zimbabwe pays tribute to Chinese firms offering post-cyclone support

HARARE Zimbabwe (Xinhua) -- The Zimbabwean government on Tuesday paid tribute to Chinese companies that are assisting in rehabilitating infrastructure that was damaged by Cyclone Idai in eastern Zimbabwe last month.

Addressing a media briefing Tuesday, information minister Monica Mutsvangwa said a total of six Chinese companies were using their own funds to rebuild infrastructure in the affected areas and would be reimbursed by the Chinese government.

She said the firms were involved in rehabilitation of damaged roads, dams, boreholes, power infrastructure, provision of mobile hospitals and construction of houses and communication networks.

She said as relief and reconstruction efforts continue in the two affected districts of Chimanimani and Chipinge, the government was also forging ahead with its cholera vaccination program where about 71.6 percent of the targeted population has been vaccinated.

More than 1,500 people displaced by the cyclone had also been sheltered and were receiving assistance at seven sites set up in the two districts, the minister said.

The cyclone left a trail of destruction and death in the eastern part of the country, and has killed over 300 people while hundreds are still missing.
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Chinese community partners with Zimbabwe government in greening key roads

HARARE Zimbabwe (Xinhua) -- The Chinese community in Zimbabwe has partnered with the Ministry of Environment and Tourism in greening the country’s strategic roads as the two nations strengthens environmental cooperation.

The community and the ministry started working together in 2018 for the national clean up campaign and would in 2019 focus on planting trees along the Harare airport road, head of the Chinese community implementing the project Zhao Ke said Saturday.

He told Xinhua on the sidelines of the tree planting program along the airport road that they want to make the Chinese-built road, the gateway to the capital Harare, more beautiful and project a good image of the country to visitors and tourists.

"Most visitors say that the airport road is too plain compared to other countries where airport roads have beautiful trees and beautiful landscaping," Zhao said.

"In Zimbabwe we thought it can not be left out so we decided to plant one of the best and beautiful trees, the palm tree, along the airport road and altogether we are going to plant about 2,000 trees covering 5 km."

He said they will work on the project, dubbed Sino-Zimbabwe Friendship Forest the whole of 2019.

In 2020, the project will be expanded to other cities and towns, Zhao said.

"So far, we have 15 companies that have joined the program and we have more companies that want to join," Zhao said.

He said the Chinese community feels the need to help the people of Zimbabwe consider the long standing ties between the two countries dating back to Zimbabwe’s liberation struggle.
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UPDATE:

Zimbabwean vice president warns forex parallel market dealers

HARARE Zimbabwe (Xinhua) -- Zimbabwe’s Vice President Constantino Chiwenga said on Wednesday that the government will descend heavily on drivers of the foreign currency parallel market.

Addressing the 2019 Zimbabwe International Trade Fair business conference in the second largest city of Bulawayo, Chiwenga said the parallel market, which he likened to "financial terrorism," was the main driver of price distortions which were causing untold suffering to the ordinary people.

He said the government was not only aiming to improve the ease of doing business to attract investment and for local businesses to prosper, but was also targeting to ensure inflation remained manageable to allow the economy to function properly.

"These noble objectives will however not be attained if as individuals and corporates, we continue to sustain the parallel market in competition with the formal market by engaging in its underground activities," the state run news agency New Ziana quoted him as saying.

"We would want to make this warning.

"Those who are undertaking these activities, we already know and if one tries to fight and practice financial terrorism on Zimbabweans, we will react appropriately and no one should cry that he has not been treated fairly."

Chiwenga said the government had responded positively to requests by the business community to establish an interbank foreign exchange market, which became operational this February, but some were busy sabotaging it.

Introduction of the interbank foreign exchange market saw the government discarding the fixed 1:1 exchange rate of the Bond note against the United States dollar.

While now officially trading at 3:21 to the U.S. dollar on the black market, the exchange rate is 1:4.61 bond notes.

The vice president vowed the formal exchange rate would work even as some were working to sabotage it.

"The parallel market continues to overshadow the formal market because there are buyers and sellers who continue to partake in its activities," he said.

"As responsible and patriotic citizens we should ask ourselves whether our activities are in the best long-term interests of the nation."

Meanwhile, the vice president slammed profiteering and unjustified increases of prices of goods by local businesses.

"The recent and continuing spate of price increases cannot be explained by objective cost push factors but is driven by speculation originating from the parallel market," he said.

"Let’s behave in a way that will see us building Zimbabwe to be the country we all want.

"Rising inflation hurts the whole economy and its development prospects, negatively affecting all of us," he said.
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EARLIER REPORTS:

Zimbabwe capital Harare ups water production amid short supplies

HARARE Zimbabwe (Xinhua) -- Harare City Council said Wednesday that it had begun receiving supplies of chlorine gas which is required in the production of potable water.

Several residential areas have been without water for at least one week, with residents in some saying that they last received supplies six weeks ago as the council failed to procure water treatment chemicals because of a shortage of foreign currency.

"Supplies of chlorine gas have started arriving at Morton Jaffray Water Treatment Plant ensuring that water treatment continues.

"We continue to engage the monetary authorities for payment to other suppliers of different chemicals," a statement from the council said without indicating when supplies were expected to be restored in the suburbs.

Spokesperson Michael Chideme said Tuesday that the city was producing just over 20 percent of daily potable water demand because of the shortage of chemicals and had engaged the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe over the timely release of foreign currency to companies that import the chemicals from China and South Africa.

As at Tuesday, the council was only producing 100 million liters against a daily average of 450 million liters, with Chideme warning that available stocks of chlorine gas would only last two days then.

He said the central bank had promised to release an initial 150,000 U.S. dollars towards the importation of the gas.

The city requires 3 million U.S. dollars every month to buy water purification chemicals for its 2.5 million residents and 2 million others in surrounding towns.
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Zimbabwe capital producing 20 percent of water due
to shortage of foreign currency for chemicals import

HARARE Zimbabwe (Xinhua) -- Zimbabwe’s capital city Harare on Tuesday said it was only producing just over 20 percent of daily potable water demand as it grapples with a shortage of water treatment chemicals.

Many suburbs spent the Independence and Easter holidays without water and are still dry while others have now gone for several weeks without.

City Council Spokesperson Michael Chideme told Xinhua that the council had "enhanced" its engagement with the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) over the timely release of foreign currency to companies that import the chemicals from China and South Africa.

"Currently our water production is very depressed. We are managing only 100 million liters against a daily average of 450 million liters," he said.

He presented a dire situation where production could be stopped in two days unless funds are made available to the importing companies.

"Our available stocks of chlorine gas can only last us for two days.

"The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe has promised to release an initial 150,000 U.S. dollars towards the importation of chlorine gas.

"We use a tonne of chlorine gas daily," he added.

Chlorine is used as a disinfectant to kill bacteria in the water.

Chideme said the city required 3 million U.S. dollars every month to buy water purification chemicals for its 2.5 million residents and 2 million others in surrounding towns.

"The other chemicals we use are activated carbon for removing odours, alum sulphate and sodium silicate for removing solid particles, lime for pH regulation, sulphuric acid to reduce pH, HTH for removing algae and ammonia for chlorine retention in the reticulation system.

Stocks of the other chemicals are also at depressed levels," he said.

Meanwhile, residents in various low and medium density suburbs are relying on kind neighbors with boreholes for water.

           

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