President expected in Victoria Falls

Source: President expected in Victoria Falls | The Herald

President expected in Victoria Falls
President Mnangagwa

Bulawayo Bureau

PRESIDENT Mnangagwa is expected in Victoria Falls today to lead key proceedings of two separate high-level international economic conferences as the Second Republic intensifies its efforts to accelerate development through harnessing opportunities from global partnerships.

The President who is expected to arrive in the resort city this morning is scheduled to officially open the 8th Ordinary Meeting of the African Diamond Producers Association (ADPA) Committee of Experts and Council of Ministers Meeting, which started yesterday.

In the afternoon, the President will preside over the 4th Edition of the International Renewable Energy Conference and Expo, which started on Tuesday.

Zimbabwe is expected to takeover the chairmanship of the elite 19-member ADPA which is significant for strategic positioning of the country in the regional and global mining economy.

Mining and energy sectors are part of the top pillars of Zimbabwe’s economy whose operations are under focus in line with Government’s National Development Strategy (NDS1), and are expected to contribute more towards attainment of an upper middle-income economy status by 2030.

Under the Second Republic led by President Mnangagwa, Zimbabwe has been on an investment offensive through enhanced partnerships with the private sector.

The ambitious transformation targets have since been set with the mining industry targeting a US$12 billion milestone by the end of this year.

Through partnerships with private sector and independent power producers in the energy sector, Zimbabwe expects to feed into the national grid over 600MW from the ongoing expansion of the Hwange Thermal Power Station Unit 7 and 8.

Hwange Unit 7 was successfully synchronised into the national grid on Monday and is expected to gradually increase output to achieve its 300MW capacity.

On the mining front, Government has opened up the sector to both local and international investors and since 2017, the sector has attracted more than US$6 billion fresh investments that have created  thousands of jobs for locals and increased export earnings.

Under the US$12 billion milestone, the local diamond sector alone is expected to contribute US$1 billion, a clear reflection of the importance of diamond mining towards attainment of Vision 2030. There is also higher momentum in other key mineral segments such as coal, gold and lithium, which have seen Matabeleland region becoming one of the new investment destinations.

Global projections already indicate a surge in international minerals prices which is set boost earnings for countries like Zimbabwe that are endowed with several minerals.

The two-day ADPA meeting started with closed door sessions of technocrats drawn from the global diamond mining industry.

Minister of Mines and Mining Development Winston Chitando, who is incoming ADPA chair and his Tanzanian counterpart, Doto Biteko, who is Minister of Minerals and ADPA outgoing chair, arrived in Victoria Falls yesterday.

ADPA has its headquarters in Luanda, Angola. Zimbabwe also heads the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS), the global diamond watchdog.

Minister Chitando said the agenda for the meeting is varied and confirmed that President Mnangagwa will officiate today.

“We are here in Victoria Falls as Zimbabwe is hosting the ADPA Council of Ministers and the meeting runs over two days, from today when we had a meeting of experts and tomorrow when we will have the Council of Ministers, which will be officially opened by His Excellency President Mnangagwa,” he said.

Minister Chitando said the setting up of the secretariat for ADPA will be completed today at the conference.

He said as the incoming chair, Zimbabwe will focus on continuing from where the outgoing chair left and making sure the agenda of ADPA to be an effective organ in the diamond industry is amplified.

Africa produces about 75 percent of world diamonds.

“So we really want to ensure ADPA plays its significant role in as far as diamond is concerned. It is important for the 19 countries that are members of ADPA to continue to come up with policies and participate in ADPA,” said the minister.

He said the umbrella world body, the Kimberly Process Certification Scheme also recognises African producers and commended African diamond producers for working together.

Minister Chitando said Zimbabwe is on course to meeting the US$12 billion mining industry target this year as major companies are already ramping up production

He said diamonds’ US$1 billion target will be achieved especially with big players like Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company producing 1,6 million carats last year and targets at least six million carats this year.

His Tanzanian counterpart, Biketo, said there is a need to make Africa diamond producers strong in the world.

“The ADPA was formed to enable African producers to share experiences and markets. The organisation has so far been doing well despite some challenges. Going forward we want to make Africa diamond mining strong and have a voice to speak for themselves and our people to benefit from diamond mining,” he said.

Biketo said there is a need to invest in technology for Africa states to be able to process and beneficiate diamonds locally.

At the renewable energy conference, President Mnangagwa is expected to engage with key stakeholders from the region and beyond who include technology providers, power utilities, independent power producers and financiers.

The renewable energy programme started with a visit to Solgas solar power plant in Mabale, Hwange District and to the Zimbabwe Power Company Hwange Thermal Power Station expansion project on Tuesday.

It is being held under the theme: “Managing the future. Clean energy possibilities” and will end tomorrow.

Energy and Power Development Permanent Secretary Dr Gloria Magombo who is already here said the conference is a partnership between the Ministry of Energy and AMH Holdings through their Standard newspaper.

“They have seen it quiet critical to provide the voice to speak to our stakeholders and also inform the public about the developments within the energy sector, in particular what we are doing in energy development,” she said.

“The official opening is going to be done by the President who is also patron for renewable energy.

We believe that President Mnangagwa is the visionary for all that we are doing especially ensuring that we do have the necessary sustainable energy resources to power the middle income society by 2030,” said Dr Magombo.

She said President Mnangagwa had been graceful in accepting that he becomes the patron as he is a very critical partner in ensuring that the country meets critical energy supply requirements which are key to economic growth.

“As you are aware we have an Energy Policy which has set targets and every year we take stock of what has happened,” said Dr Magombo

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