THE Zimbabwe Mining and Infrastructure Indaba opens in Harare this morning with the ultimate objective to further entrench the country’s position as a premier destination for foreign direct investment on the continent.
According to mines lobby group, the Chamber of Mines of Zimbabwe, the country’s mining sector requires between US$5 billion and US$7 billion to retool over five years.
Newly appointed Mines and Mining Development Minister Walter Chidhakwa will officially open the annual event to be graced by other high profile local, regional and international delegates.
This year’s indaba will run under the theme “Redefining Africa: Harnessing our Resources Collectively”, which comes as Zimbabwe seeks to tape its abundant resources to boost the economy.
President Mugabe has indicated in many of his official speeches in the last two months that Government expects the country’s diverse portfolio of minerals reserves to anchor economic growth.
The indaba should provide a platform to explore ways to increase returns from a sector facing a myriad of problems that include power shortage, high cost of finance, liquidity constraints and depressed international commodity prices among others.
Organisers, Utho Capital chief executive Ms Sheila Galloway yesterday said everything was now in place for Zimbabwe’s second big economy focused conference within a space of a month.
The hosting of the mining Indaba comes hot on the heels of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation General Assembly successfully co-hosted by Zimbabwe and Zambia last month.
The Indaba will focus on how Africa can come together to discuss fundamental areas of mining, infrastructure development, financing and human resource requirements to develop its economies.
Topics expected to come under discussion include the mining Sector in Zimbabwe over the past 5 years and the way forward on new mining policies, exploration, beneficiation, the economy.
Rules of engagement mining in Africa, creating a conducive environment, building sustainable communities through Mining, new generation of Miners in Africa (Women, Junior miners and artisanal miners) and regional integration of infrastructure through bringing efficiencies to service delivery in the region, will also form the basis of discussions on the mining.
On infrastructure issues the conference will dwell on lighting up Africa (Power and Energy projects across Africa that are in process and those envisaged), public private partnerships across Africa.
Key note speakers include the Minister of Mines and Mining Development, former Deputy Prime Minister Prof Arthur Mutambara, Chamber of Mines of Zimbabwe president Mr Alex Mhembere and Dr Paul Jourdan, the consultant who drafted Zimbabwe’s new mining policy and Ms Yvette Babb, Africa Strategist with Standard Bank’s Africa research team
Scanlan and Holderness senior partner Mr Sternford Moyo, Industrial Development Corporation chief economist Mr Lumkile Mondi and Black Business Council of South Africa president Mr Xolani Qubeka will also present papers at the indaba.
Mining ranks at the top of Zimbabwe’s most important pillars of the economy and according to the Chamber of Mines of Zimbabwe contributes about 12 percent to gross domestic product.