FINALLY, the truth has been revealed that Zimbabwe has oil reserves, the world’s most precious resource which any nation is proud to possess.
The discovery, however, comes at the tail end of the oil boom with the globe now progressively moving away from environmentally unfriendly energy sources such as oil and coal that have been blamed for climate change and pollution.
Nonetheless, God, the gods and ancestors appear to be ever smiling upon Zimbabwe which happens to have vast deposits of the world’s next must-have resource: Lithium.
But of particular interest is the absolute absence of excitement among Zimbabweans over the discovery of oil and lithium. It is largely doom and gloom all round.
Zimbabwe is quite fortunate to be endowed with most of the world’s precious minerals, but the country has little to nothing to show for it to a point that its own currency, which is supposed to be backed by all these precious resources, is as worthless as desert sand. And feeble attempts by the government to shore up the local currency have been anything but miserably uninspiring.
For instance, after reawakening the Zimbabwe dollar in 2019 after a decade in the graveyard, the nation was told one dollar was equal to the United States dollar. Surprisingly, citizens now need $2 700 to buy a single US dollar on the black market where it is readily available.
Along the way gold coins and more recently gold-backed digital tokens have been introduced to prop up the useless local currency.
This and many past depressing experiences have largely forced many Zimbabweans to view their mineral riches as a curse rather than a blessing because instead of benefiting from them they are wallowing in poverty as a few citizens and foreigners loot them at will.
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Zimbabweans have also seen their nation drown in debt, yet every year billions worth of minerals that include gold and diamonds are being exported. It disheartens many citizens that the country exports a lot of gold yet it appears to have a single gold bar in its vaults.
More than a decade ago, the country discovered yet another precious mineral: Diamond, which triggered much excitement that the country’s socio-economic troubles would be a thing of the past.
Alas, all that came to naught after the country’s leader at the time, the late President Robert Mugabe confessed to the entire world that the diamonds were being looted left, right and centre and Zimbabwe was benefiting very little from them.
So news that oil has been discovered in the country’s Zambezi Valley is hardly inspiring because the majority of citizens have little to no faith that the find will ameliorate their predicament.
Given past experience, many of them fear that the oil will most certainly worsen their plight because all the mineral discoveries so far have been nothing, but a curse.