Mutare City Council has roped in the Chinese investors in its drive to set up a special economic zone project to boost industry and production as the city moves to take advantage of its proximity to the nearest seaport in Beira as well as diamond fields in Chiadzwa.
The special economic zone will be centered around diamond polishing and cutting centre.
By Donald Nyarota
Council management engaged the Chinese investors under the banner of National Development and Reform Commission of China (NRDC) with the deal facilitated by the Zimbabwe Special Economic Zones Authority (ZIMSEZA).
The Chinese investors, also working with the International Cooperation Centre (ICC) were on a fact find mission around the country, assessed investment opportunities at the Fernhill special economic zone project.
ICC with cooperation from the Sino African Chamber of Commerce are looking to create a platform for collaborations and joint ventures, as well as setting up a business training institution.
Mutare Chief Town Planner, Richard Simbi said Mutare city provides competitive advantages, including its proximity to a sea port in Beira, Mozambique.
Simbi said they are looking for investments to unlock the development potential of Mutare, create employment for locals, as well as increasing the provinces’ Gross Domestic Product.
“As Manicaland we are ready for investments because we are open for business like the rest of the country, and we provide a lot of competitive advantages for investors because of our proximity to the sea port in Beira.
“Through the special economic zone project as the City of Mutare we intend to exploit our development potential we will unlock development potential and create employment opportunities for our locals.
“This will place us ahead in the devolution matrix which also seeks to maximize local benefits from resources, as well as increasing our GDP,” said Simbi.
Mutare City mayor councilor Blessing Thandi praised the engagement as a stepping stone towards establishing a mutually beneficial relationship with Chinese investors as they seek to uplift the lives of locals.
He said under the Fernhill special economic zone projects, council will provide concessionary incentives and waivers to fast track development for local benefit.
“We are already poised for a boom as the city closest to the sea and this is an advantage that we hope investors can fully exploit the vast opportunities that we present as a city.
“As we are forge ahead with our urban renewal the special economic zone will be the centre piece to unlock value chains to create employment opportunities for the local people.
“Investors under the Fernhill project will also receive concessionary rates as well as other incentives and waivers which already apply from the national level in such areas,” said Thandi.