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Business tycoon hails US$1,5bn steel project

“This is a private company that in spite of sanctions and the short-term challenges of Zimbabwe has invested over US$500 million and continues to invest in our region. These are the long-term partners we need."

ONE of Zimbabwe’s most accomplished investors singled out a Chinese-built steel operation as one of the most significant deals to emerge recently, sharing his insights on a variety of topics during an Africa Day presentation in Harare last week.

Shingai Mutasa, the founder and chief executive officer at Masawara — a sprawling conglomerate with substantial assets under its management — has also highlighted potentially lucrative gas finds near Mahuwe as one of the top long-term deals poised to drive Zimbabwe’s economic growth.

Last Thursday’s Africa Day presentation ran under In Conversation with Trevor banner, an online television show presented by media mogul Trevor Ncube.

Ncube is the chairperson of Alpha Media Holdings, Zimbabwe’s biggest private media company, which publishes the Zimbabwe Independent, The Standard and NewsDay. It also runs Heart & Soul TV.

“If I look (we have) Tsing Shan (Dinson)… (they are building) what will become the most competitive steel producer in the world, here in Zimbabwe,” Mutasa said in a speech that wove in and out of African history and emphasised the crucial role of protecting a people’s identity.

“This is a private company that in spite of sanctions and the short-term challenges of Zimbabwe has invested over US$500 million and continues to invest in our region. These are the long-term partners we need.

“Our challenge as business is to embrace them as partners and work together to further strengthen our Southern African Development Community (Sadc) region,” he said, reflecting on China’s protracted four-decade transformation.

“Who would have thought in 1980 (44 years ago), when we were being shown images of Chinese people using bicycles as their main means of travel, that in 2024 most of the world’s electric vehicles would be manufactured in China? We have to bring in global partners who want to build long-term relationships with this Sadc region,” Mutasa noted.

He then turned to Zimbabwe’s potentially game-changing gas find near Mahuwe, where Australia Stock Exchange-listed

Invictus Energy has reported a massive resource.

“Then there is Invictus, who are exploring the Zambezi basin for gas.

With the positive results found, over the next 10 years our Sadc region will transform because of this singular action,” he told guests at the packed conference, which is set to become an annual event.

Fortune 500-listed Chinese giant, Tsing Shang is developing a US$1,5 billion five million tonnes-a-year steel and ferrochrome operation at Manhize near Mvuma.

Last week, an official told the Zimbabwe Independent the plant was undergoing test runs before coming on line.

The company is executing its Zimbabwean ambition through a special unit called Dinson Iron and Steel Company.

Officials say the Mvuma plant could be Africa’s biggest steel operation.

Invictus’ gas fields lie within the Cabora Bassa basin, one of onshore Africa’s last untested large frontier claims. It is in the Zambezi Valley close to Mahuwe Growth Point.

“The company’s first high impact well, Mukuyu-1, proved a working hydrocarbon system in the basin and the company is now preparing a follow up appraisal and exploration campaign to unlock the untapped potential at Mukuyu and in the basin margin play,” Invictus says on its website.

Turning to the issue of identity, Mutasa said Africans should not undermine their names.

“Just from the name we will know who you are and how proud you are of yourself and your identity,” Mutasa said.

Masawara brand’s assets include Cresta Hospitality, one of Zimbabwe’s biggest leisure chains.

Mutasa said he was moving to change the names of two of the group’s hotels to give them a Zimbabwean identity.

“Recently I reviewed my own state of mind and realised I am also to blame. In our organisation, Masawara, we still proudly use the names of Churchill and Jameson for our hotels,” he said.

“These are two people who deliberately destroyed our history and participated fully in the colonisation of our people and continent. We will change these names and glorify our own.

“However, I have no doubt the voices of negativity will come from our own,” the Masawara CEO said.

Ncube said innovative products being rolled out by AMH like the Africa Day Dinner Gala were a fulfilment of his vision to build an organisation that responds to Zimbabwe’s needs. He said platforms like the Ideas Festival, which was held in Nyanga last year, and the dinner gala — which revolves around In Conversation with Trevor, will become permanent annual features on the Zimbabwean business calendar — bringing Zimbabwe’s top minds and the public together, to map out how to build a better economy.

“At the centre of it all is nation building,” Ncube said.

“We are passionate about nation building at AMH. We want to share the journeys of people who are in business and extract the lessons they have learnt in their journeys.

“If we open up on our experiences, you have no idea the impact they have on other people. We are mentoring the nation in terms of ethical ways of doing business and removing toxicity from our society. We are focusing on issues that affect society,” he added.

Ncube said his vision for the gala dinner was to bring alumni from In Conversation With Trevor to interact with the public, with each participant showing how they can contribute to nation building.

“It was beyond our dreams,” Ncube said, when asked about his impression of last week’s inaugural event.

“It was a full house with people of influence. We had for example, a doyen of the financial sector, Nick Vingirai. Then we had executives like Anthony Mandiwanza, Solomon Guramatunhu, the eye surgeon and others. Ambassadors were also there. It felt good for the first such event to be oversubscribed like that. I slept well afterwards. It is going to be an annual event,” he said. – (The Independent)

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