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Russian investors eye mining, energy

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THE visiting Russian Industry and Trade minister Denis Mantrurov says the ratification of a bilateral investment promotion and protection agreement (Bippa) with Zimbabwe is a testament of the commitment his country has with the Southern African country.

Report by Mernat Mafirakurewa, Acting Business Editor

Zimbabwe and Russia on Sunday signed a Bippa as part of efforts to deepen trade relations and the government’s move to focus on the Brics bloc of countries.

The delegation has also expressed interest in exploring opportunities in the platinum and energy sectors.

“We want to ensure the safe investment environment for businesses entering the Zimbabwean market. Of particular importance is the issue of financing these projects and corporate issues as well,” Mantrurov said.

“We already have experience of some Russian companies being involved with Zimbabwean counterparts in mining, but it’s just the first step in the realisation of the full potential that can be done by big companies in mining.”

Mines and Mining Development minister Obert Mpofu said the country had unlimited investment opportunities spanning across all sectors of the economy, including mining, energy and tourism.
“We have had quite a number of Russian firms interested in investing in the country,” Mpofu said.

He, however, expressed concern at the failure by several giant Russian companies to invest in the country, including diamond firms Alrosa and Gasprom.

“To us that is of great concern. We want Russian companies to invest in the country. We will, even if it means breaking protocol, allow your companies in — especially if they have government backing. This is an assurance both in mining, energy and whatever area of investment you want to take part in,” he said.

“If your companies have identified areas of possible engagement, we will welcome them and make the necessary facilitation — especially on my part in the mining sector — and get the projects started. Russia has been consistent in supporting us.

“Should there be certain impediments which will be encountered by Russian investors in the country, we will be dealing with those at our level following this meeting.”

Mpofu pledged to visit Russia.

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