China to invest in Bulawayo

China to invest in Bulawayo
Published: 04 May 2018
A CHINESE conglomerate, Huajian Group of Companies, will soon begin construction of a multi-million dollar industrial park in Bulawayo in a project which will employ more than 10 000 people directly while another 100 000 will benefit indirectly downstream, a senior official confirmed yesterday.

A high-powered delegation from the company was in the city last Saturday where it met senior officials from the Bulawayo City Council during an exploratory meeting.

The arrival of the Chinese delegation in the city follows President Emmerson Mnangagwa's State visit to China last month.

Huajian Group of Companies was led by its board chairperson Mr Zhang Huarong who indicated that they will soon be investing in the construction of an industrial park with specific interest in leather and clothing for local and export markets.

Huajian Group of Companies recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Government of Zimbabwe to co-operate in the development of Special Economic Zones.

Bulawayo Town Clerk Mr Christopher Dube confirmed the developments and said as a city they were confident that the visit by the Chinese delegation was the beginning of a long lasting relationship which will go a long way in reviving the city's industrial sector.

"In terms of employment they have projected that they will employ 10 000 people but considering the other downstream benefits our calculations are that people who will benefit are in excess of 100 000. With such figures it is clear that this spells great things for the city hence we are excited. We thank the efforts of President Mnangagwa in calling for more Foreign Direct Investment," said Mr Dube.

"The meeting was more of an introductory one where they presented the scope of the project which they want to start in the city. The way they were conversing, I am confident that they will soon be back and the project will start immediately. They indicated that when they start construction, work would have been completed in six months and production will start".

Bulawayo City Council public relations officer, Miss Bongiwe Ngwenya, said the delegation met with council management where various initiatives were discussed that would see the group of companies coming to invest in the city.

"The City of Bulawayo on Saturday, 28 April 2018 received a high powered delegation from the People's Republic of China that was interested in investing in the city. The visit was a follow up to the recent visit to China by His Excellency the President ED Mnangagwa, where a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between the Government of Zimbabwe and Huajian Group of Companies (HGC) to co-operate in the development of Special Economic Zones.

"The delegation comprised of Mr Zhang Huarong, the board chairman of Huajian Industrial Holdings Company Limited who was leading a 19-member delegation. The team was interested in setting up an Industrial Park with specific interest in leather and clothing for local and export markets," said Miss Ngwenya.

Present at the meeting, according to the local authority's spokesperson, were the Town Clerk, Mr Dube, the city economic development officer, Mr Kholisani Moyo, senior council management and representatives of various government Ministries.

The visit comes after an 11-member delegation from the Asian economic giant was in the country a couple of weeks ago on a week-long exploratory mission led by China Trade Promotion Centre director Mr Tan Wenbao.

The delegation included managers from various companies interested in energy, agriculture, health and infrastructure development.

During President Mnangagwa's State visit, China and Zimbabwe agreed to elevate relations to Comprehensive Strategic Partnership Status, the highest level of bilateral co-operation.

Among the deals sealed during the visit was the $1 billion Hwange Thermal Power Station project, which had been floundering for three years.

Funds to start work on units 7 and 8 of the plant will be released immediately.

The Kunzvi Dam Project reached financial closure, with Sinohydro and China Communications Construction Company (CCCC) committing to providing resources for the dam and water treatment plant, and to roll-out installation of smart prepaid water meters.

Other projects that will get immediate funding totalling about $1 billion include the Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport expansion, the new Parliament Building in Mt Hampden, NetOne's expansion, refurbishment of Morton Jeffrey Water Treatment Plant and construction of a pharmaceutical factory.

Zimbabwe and China also signed a $1 billion tourism Memorandum of Understanding.
- chronicle
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