Chinese companies have heightened their interest in local investments following President Mnangagwa’s inauguration in late 2017, with a major construction firm last week dispatching a delegation to Zimbabwe to explore partnerships in road, rail and airports.
China Railway Group Limited is the largest construction company in the world, and its delegation was in Zimbabwe just days before President Mnangagwa was due to meet President Xi Jinping in Beijing.
The firm dispatched its international agent and advisor, Sir Richard Heygate, to Zimbabwe last week to explore investment opportunities.
Sir Richard, who is credited with inventing the ATM in 1968, was expected to meet senior Government officials to discuss metro rail lines as well as the Bulawayo-Victoria Falls and Harare-Bindura highways, among others.
Sir Richard told The Sunday Mail Business that he was set to meet Ministry of Transport officials to discuss on projects they are interested in.
“We want to introduce metro trains between Harare and Chitungwiza. That project has to be a reality after a long time.
“Any expansion (of the metro trains to other areas) would be stemming from that project,” said Sir Heygate, whose family is also credited with setting up Lloyds Bank in England.
China Railway Group wants to build metro lines linking Harare-Chitungwiza, Harare-Norton and Harare-Mabvuku-Ruwa.
The cash-rich Chinese firm also wants to build an international airport for Kariba.
While Sir Richard said it was too early to state the cost of all these projects, experts say the Harare-Chitungwiza railway line could cost as much as US$1 billion.
The estimated cost of rehabilitating the Bulawayo-Victoria Falls Highway is around US$200 million; while the Harare-Bindura Highway requires US$20 million.
Sir Richard said it was critical for Zimbabwe, whose economy is agro-based, to consider growing soya for the huge Chinese market.
Another firm heeding President Mnangagwa’s “Zimbabwe is open for business” mantra is AGCO Corporation, a United States-based agricultural equipment manufacturer based in Georgia.
AGCO, which generated US$7,4 billion in revenue in 2016, says it is keen to fund Zimbabwe’s agriculture sector.
The company’s Africa marketing director and general manager (Zambia Future Farm) Mr Jason Burbidge told The Sunday Mail Business that: “We have made our interest known in funding agriculture.
“We have a very strong focus on training, and the production of anything to do with agriculture, be it maize or soya. I don’t think Africans need to be taught how to grow maize, particularly those in Southern Africa, but it is the handling that still requires training.
“In Zambia, they threw away 41 percent of their output last year due to pests, weather, and the like, and we are saying we are available to train farmers on how to handle and store grain to avoid such loses.”
AGCO, which is also into poultry production, owns big tractor brands like Massey Ferguson and Challenger.
One of AGCO’s long time partners in Zimbabwe is Farmec, a farming equipment provider.