Chinese companies were awarded licenses in the third quarter that could see $2.79 billion of investment flow into Zimbabwe, mostly in mining and energy as the government pushes to develop some of Africa’s biggest lithium deposits and end power outages.
The planned investment, a tenfold increase on the $271 million pledged in the same period last year, dwarfs that of its closest rival, the United Arab Emirates, which eon licenses to invest $498.5 million. The total value of investment licenses awarded was $3.41 billion.
Chinese applications “were the most by number and investment value with mining being their most preferred sector followed by the manufacturing sector,” the Zimbabwe Development Agency, the state-owned unit tasked with securing investment, said in a report on Wednesday. China accounted for more than two thirds of the 180 applications.
Chinese companies have been buying lithium mines, which supply a key component for the batteries used in electric vehicles. They are also involved in revamping and building power plants in the country. Of the planned investment $2.8 billion is slated for energy projects and $411 million for mining.
One China-backed project is a $2.3 billion planned energy and mining complex that will process minerals in Mapinga while another is 500 megawatt solar energy project
The mines ministry said Wednesday the country has earned $209 million in revenue from lithium exports in the nine months to September.
(By Ray Ndlovu and Godfrey Marawanyika)