ZIA approves US$1,4bn worth of projects in H1

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TINASHE MAKICHI

The Zimbabwe Investment Authority (ZIA) approved investment project proposals worth US$1,47bn in the six months to June down from US$1,5bn last year with bulk of it in the mining sector, latest figures show.

Foreign projects approved during the first half of 2019 totalled US$997m with local sitting at US$11m while projects of a joint nature valued at US$462m were approved.

Mining recorded the highest number at US$537m followed by energy at US$500m with services on the third recording US$259m. Agriculture was at US$26m while construction was at US$63m.

Zimbabwe has been introducing investor-friendly policies as part of President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s ambitions to transform the country into an upper middle-income economy by 2030.

During the first half of 2019, Zimbabwe announced the coming of Australian Securities Exchange listed entity Invictus Energy into exploration of oil and gas deposits in the southern African country’s Mashonaland Central Province. The project is expected to run into billions.

In addition, during the same period under review Zimbabwe awarded a concession to explore for and mine platinum to a company linked to a Nigerian billionaire as the country speeds up investment in a mining sector it hopes will transform the country’s struggling economy.

The concession came just over a year after President  Mnangagwa signed an agreement with Cyprus-based Karo Resources to develop a US$4.2bn integrated platinum mine. Zimbabwe is seeking to quickly exploit its reserves of platinum, which is used in catalytic converters for limiting emissions at a time vehicle manufacturers are moving to electric cars powered by lithium batteries.

Critics however say Zimbabwe has been lagging behind in converting the proposals into actual projects on the back of policy inconsistencies.