|Zim, USA companies sign multi-million minerals sale deal|
|Monday, 09 July 2012 15:27|
Lulu Brenda Harris
Sunday Business CorrespondentA ZIMBABWE mining company has signed a deal worth millions of dollars with a United States company over the sale of borate minerals, a contract if fulfilled will create employment for locals and defrost a tense relationship between the two countries.
Borate minerals are a large group of minerals in which boron is chemically bonded to oxygen. They are mainly used as a component of detergents and aid in stain removal and bleaching.
Outgoing US Ambassador Charles Ray, who could not give specifics, said a company from Kentucky had signed a deal with a local mining company, of which both parties were in complete compliance with each country’s regulations and were overly satisfied about the transaction.
“Both parties are actually happy about it, it sounds like a good deal and would help in creating employment for Zimbabweans. We’re actually encouraging more US companies to come here and make their research,” he said.
He said American businesses were growing interested in investing in Zimbabwe, as indicated by numerous inquiries from companies seeking new opportunities. The ambassador said his office had received many inquiries from US companies seeking business opportunities in Zimbabwe, as the country continues to show potential for growth.
The diplomat said last year he took a delegation of local businesspeople to America to market the vast opportunities Zimbabwe had and that efforts were beginning to bear fruit evidenced by the number of US businesspeople coming in.
“At the October 2011 Doing Business in Zimbabwe forum in Washington DC, I made a point of saying, Zimbabwe is open for business, and I encouraged US companies to take a closer look. Since then we have had US investors getting in a plane coming to look and do their own research. Last Saturday night I was at a dinner and guess what, I saw four guys from Texas who had come in to introduce themselves. They had taken a plane from Dallas, via Atlanta to Johannesburg then Zimbabwe. I was impressed. Last year around October — November some businesspeople came in from Chicago,” he said.
Ambassador Ray said businesspeople from his country had misunderstood the sanctions and thought they prevented trade between the two nations, which was not the case.
“Many businesspeople there believed that US sanctions prevented trade with Zimbabwe. This is not the case, and my team here has been proactive in reaching out to US firms to clarify misperceptions about our policies,” he said.
The diplomat said it was unfortunate that international media painted a crude picture of Zimbabwe which, in reality, destroyed the face of the country and was chasing away interested investors.
He said if possible, Zimbabwe should use the social media to their advantage and dispel the bad stories that circulated about the country.
“Frequently these simple clarifications — an e-mail to the US firm or a new webpage dispelling the myths about our sanctions — are all that is needed to make the sale happen,” the diplomat said.
However, Ambassador Ray advised the Government to take initiatives and look for ways of how they can cater for local interests.
“I took a delegation to US because someone had to take the first steps, actions to increase investment opportunities but that is not my job that’s the Government’s role to do that but I know there are some ministers who are doing a good job in marketing the country as a whole,” he said.
The diplomat said Zimbabwe has the potential to grow its economy but bureaucratic channels were sometimes scaring investors.