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Investors dance the Zimbabwean Polka

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Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa and AfDB President Dr. Akinwumi A. Adesina at the Africa Investment Forum Market Days 2022 in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire. Image credit: African Development Bank

Investors dance the Zimbabwean Polka   

While Zimbabwe starts preparing for general elections later this year, concerns about the ban on raw exports of lithium, its efforts to lure private investors, and calls for the removal of sanctions have dominated news about the country in 2022.

The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) announced the suspension of by elections earlier this week, while at the same time setting July or August 2023 as the months for the upcoming general elections.

According to ZEC Chairperson Priscilla Chigumba, the suspension of the by-election is in line with the constitution which stipulates that a by-election cannot be held within nine months before a general election is due.

“Section 158(3) of the Constitution provides that polling in by-elections shall take place within ninety days of the vacancies occurring unless the vacancies occur within nine months before a general election is due to be held.

“The last general election held in 2018 was held on 31″ July 2018. It is therefore anticipated from a reading of section 158(3) of the Constitution that general elections will be held on a date to be set during the month of either July or August 2023,” says Chigumba.

Ban on lithium cause jitters (Investors dance the Zimbabwean Polka)

Meanwhile, the Zimbabwe government has assured investors that the government does not plan to ban the export of lithium concentrates. “The ban refers to the export of raw lithium, in other words lithium ore – the rocks that carry the lithium,” says Pfungwa Kunaka, permanent secretary for the Zimbabwe Ministry of Mines.

In December last year, the Zimbabwe government announced that lithium-bearing ores could only be exported based on a written permission from the minister of mines. According to the publication Supply Management, Zimbabwe produced about 1200 tonnes of lithium in 2021.

Flirting with private investors (Investors dance the Zimbabwean Polka)

Earlier this year, Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa asked private investors to realise the massive investment opportunities in Zimbabwe and shun negative perceptions of risk.

 Mnangagwa spoke in November 2022 at a special event on the margins of the Africa Investment Forum Market Days 2022 in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire.

“Our aim is to persuade global capital assembled in this city to realise that there are opportunities for investment in Zimbabwe,” said Mnangagwa.

At the same event African Development Bank (AfDB) President Dr. Akinwumi A. Adesina confirmed the bank’s approval of a USD4-million grant to support the development of a secretariat and to hasten the country’s debt arrears clearance issue.

Adesina agreed to champion Zimbabwe’s debt clearance strategy and acknowledged that Zimbabwe has been hurt by sanctions imposed by the European Union and other Western countries.

Zimbabwe Industry and Commerce Minister Sekai Nzenza said that the country is focusing on mining, agriculture (especially cotton), tourism and manufacturing. It also plans to manufacture lithium batteries locally.

“There’s no doubt that sanctions hurt, but Zimbabwe is open for business. The key words are value addition…we have been exporting raw materials for a long time, it is time to manufacture locally,” says Nzenza.

Calls for removal of sanctions (Investors dance the Zimbabwean Polka)

Parliamentarians at the Pan African Parliament (PAP), which held its First Ordinary Session in Midrand, South Africa, in October last year, called for the unilateral removal of sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe by the United States (US) and its Western Allies. WhyAfrica was present at the three week event, which focused on the renewal of PAP, an important organ of the African Union (AU)

Supporting the resolution of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Heads of States and Governments demanding the immediate lifting of economic sanctions, the PAP Parliamentarians noted that the sanctions have affected not only Zimbabwe but the entire SADC region.

According to Stars Mathe, a PAP parliamentarian from Zimbabwe sanctions hinder development and they close lines of credit thereby stunting development.

“I fully understand the effects of sanctions and they have unleashed humanitarian suffering of unimaginable proportions on the citizens hence the calls for these coercive measures to be unilaterally removed,” said Mathe.

Lammali Behdja from Algeria said that Zimbabwe should be given back its economic freedom and the citizens should start benefitting from the immense natural wealth of their country.

Acknowledging that the government of Zimbabwe under Mnangagwa has opened a new chapter and is constructively engaging with the rest of the world, the PAP restated that the sanctions are unnecessary and harm innocent citizens. SADC declared October 25 as the day of solidarity over sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe.

Investors dance the Zimbabwean Polka  



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Investors dance the Zimbabwean Polka   

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