Zvamaida Murwira, Harare Bureau
PRESIDENT Mnangagwa and visiting Belarusian Chief of Presidential Affairs General Colonel Victor Sheiman held crucial talks yesterday aimed at assessing progress on investment opportunities which are set to transform Zimbabwe into a transport and logistics hub of the region.
The Head of State and Government and Commander-in-Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces held a three-hour long meeting with Gen Col Sheiman at State House that was attended by three Cabinet Ministers and representatives of other Ministries.
The visit by Gen Col Sheiman followed an earlier trip by President Mnangagwa to Belarus in January this year where he discussed investment opportunities in agriculture, mining, energy, transport and construction among other areas.
President Mnangagwa and his Belarusian counterpart, President Alexander Lukashenko, sealed eight agreements and advanced a grand infrastructure scheme that could make Zimbabwe a regional transport and logistics hub.
Briefing journalists yesterday, President Mnangagwa said discussions were meant to reflect on progress registered to date on the several investment areas whose effect would be to deepen bilateral relations between the two countries.
“General (Col) Sheiman has come over to review the progress so far achieved. We have gone over all the items which we agreed on when I visited Belarus in January. It is work in progress on almost every area but it is up to you to ask him,” said President Mnangagwa while responding to press inquiries on what they had discussed.
Gen Col Sheiman said their discussions centred on how they could set up a solar-powered energy generation that had the capacity to produce 100 megawatts.
“One other issue we discussed is on the energy sector. We have a task to create an energy generation company. This company will have a solar power plant. The power station will have the capacity of 100MW and will be installed 40 kilometres from Harare. This company will be engaged in transmitting electricity and distributing equipment,” said Gen Col Sheiman.
He said the company would also be involved in road construction and other infrastructure.
“It will be one of the biggest construction companies. According to the instruction from President Mnangagwa we are going into agriculture which will be a joint venture between Zimbabwe and Belarus,” Gen Col Sheiman said.
On transport, Gen Col Sheiman said they intend to have a joint venture for the movement of cargo.
“It (joint venture) will be involved in moving cargo in Zimbabwe and Southern African countries. It will transport cargo from seaports in Mozambique to Zimbabwe, providing transport services from Zimbabwe to the seaports of Mozambique. We will then include this network of Zambia, Botswana and South Africa. Second stage is the creation of the biggest logistics centre to facilitate the work of this company, this logistics centre will convert into a dry seaport of Zimbabwe,” he said.
On agriculture, Gen Col Sheiman said Zimbabwe and Belarus would enter into a joint venture on production of wheat, corn, maize and soya beans and explore ways to increase milk production and processing of the milk.
He said they intend to secure a 10 000 ha piece of land for agricultural production.
“In this place we will also have poultry and poultry meat which will be large scale production. There will also be chicken and eggs. There will also be production of beef and milk, from the Belarus we will supply livestock, we will produce cows and buffaloes. We will increase the production of milk, the next thing is to install a processing facility of milk for the internal Zimbabwean market. We have a task from President Mnangagwa to produce low cost beef and milk for the internal market of Zimbabwe,” Gen Col Sheiman said.
The meeting was attended by Ministers Mthuli Ncube (Finance and Economic Development), Winston Chitando (Mines and Mining Development) and Sibusiso Moyo (Foreign Affairs and International Trade).