MANICALAND Province has set out to attract investment from China to counter de-industrialisation and exploit a cocktail of opportunities in the area using its twin arrangement with China’s South eastern province of Anhui, a senior official has said. Minister of State for Manicaland Province Christopher Mushohwe said in an interview last Friday that as a province they have sought to take advantage of the cordial relations between the two countries’ provinces since they were twinned in 2010.
The minister said that a 12-member delegation comprising people from the Chinese Government and industry was in the country last week after Zimbabwe’s visit to China in 2011.
“The delegation was in the country at our invitation after Manicaland and Anhui were twinned in 2011. The delegation was led by vice chairman of the Anhui Provincial Committee and president of the Anhui Federation of Industry and Commerce Mr Weihua Li,” he said.
Minister Mushohwe said Zimbabwe sought to attract investment from China to counter de-industrialisation in the province after the closure of such companies as Manica Board and Paper Mills, Karina, Zim Glass and the mothballing of most of car assembly operations as the liquidity crisisworsened.
As a result of the closure of these firms that used to be in Manicaland the country is now importing a wide range of products it used to produce locally and these included glass, fruits, carpets, paper and cars, whose production it potential to resume.
“We could benefit from their (Anhui Province) technological advancement and appetite for investment globally. We hope that our people not just from Manicaland Province, but the rest of the whole of Zimbabwe will benefit,” Minister Mushohwe said.
He said that the delegation was excited about the prospects of investing in the province and asked the minister to come up with a list of project proposals in areas they would want investment.
The province also presents unlimited opportunities for investment due to its excellent weather for agriculture, abundance of a variety of mineral, suitability for manufacturing and fertile conditions for timber plantations and processing.
Manicaland has immeasurable potential for development and lucrative investments considering it is home to Zimbabwe’s largest diamond reserves with potential to supply a quarter of gems traded on global markets, produces three quarters of fruits consumed in Zimbabwe and 90 percent of the country’s timber.
According to Minister Mushohwe the fact that Anhui Province, with a population of more than 69 million, has a similar landscape, industrial and economic characteristics as Manicaland Province, presented opportunities for mutual co-operation.