Oliver Kazunga, Senior Business Reporter
DIVERSIFIED Botswana headquartered group Hangana Private Limited plans to establish a diamond cutting and polishing centre in Bulawayo as part of its long-term investment in Zimbabwe.
Last week business executives from Hangana were in Bulawayo to sign a Memorandum of Understanding with their local counterparts so that they can start doing business together. The businesspeople from the two countries intend to work together in different economic sectors and the MoU was facilitated by the office of Bulawayo Provincial Affairs Minister, Judith Ncube through the Bulawayo industry think-tank.
In an interview after the signing of the MoU on fuel supply deal at Minister Ncube’s offices at Mhlahlandlela Government Complex in Bulawayo, Hangana legal representative Mr Lewis Maunze who is resident in Zimbabwe said:
“We are looking at setting up a diamond cutting and polishing centre in Bulawayo in the long term as we roll out our projects in different sectors. The advantage is that our partners are from Botswana, a country that is doing exceptionally well in the diamond industry.
“In that regard, if the diamond cutting and polishing centre is set up, we are guaranteed enough expertise, skills and experience in the diamond industry.”
Although, Mr Maunze would not be drawn into divulging the time frame for the proposed investment, he indicated that they were ready to tap into Zimbabwe’s diamond sector.
In a separate interview, Hangana director Retired Lieutenant Colonel Lekitlanye Ovuya also expressed their keen interest to invest in the local diamond cutting and polishing sub-sector.
He said his organisation was licensed to deal in rough and precious stones in Botswana and the same licence was a legal document to extend their tentacles into Zimbabwe.
“Given that Zimbabwe has got all the minerals that we can tap into, we want to extend our diamond cutting and polishing service into the country. One of the pre-requesting for us wanting to do business here (Zimbabwe) is that one should be licensed.
“We are licensed in Botswana and that same licence allows us to do business in Zimbabwe and without that licence, we couldn’t sit down and talk about diamonds,” he said.
“Our main interest with that licence is in cutting and polishing, which is a long-term project. When we came here for our first meeting recently, we found out that there is an opportunity for polishing and that’s why we want to go into that because so far Zimbabwe has got the diamonds but they don’t have a polishing plant.”
The Botswana-based concern is also focused on setting up businesses in areas such as mining, manufacturing and the pharmaceutical industry. Minister Ncube confirmed having held discussions with the Botswana investors through Hangana in different sectors that include manufacturing, mining and pharmaceuticals.
The Government has adopted the “Zimbabwe is open for business” policy with a view of attracting investments from across the globe.
Before the ushering in of the new political dispensation in November last year, Zimbabwe’s foreign direct investment inflows averaged $500 million, which was far below that of regional peers such as Mozambique and Zambia that ranged between $5 billion and $12 billion annually.
As a result of the new political dispensation, which has taken a bold step towards rebuilding Zimbabwe’s international relations with the global village, the country has so far attracted over $16 billion worth of proposed investment projects. — @okazunga.