Diaspora loves the motherland too

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THE country’s enemies, operating out of desperation, have once again severely miscalculated.
Zimbabwe’s children are Zimbabwe’s children, vana vevhu.
They believe the Diaspora constituency belongs to them.
But that is far from the truth.
The Diaspora community belongs to Zimbabwe.
They are Zimbabweans.
And they represent Zimbabwe wherever they are across the globe.
This is why there is a beautiful story happening in our economy that is being spearheaded by the Diaspora community.
This is the story about the timely intervention of the Diaspora community in the country’s economic revival efforts.
This is the story about the Diaspora Infrastructure Development Group (Pvt) Ltd (DIDG), that company which won the National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ)
US$400 million recapitalisation tender.
But before the ink has dried, there are already disturbing murmurs questioning the awarding of the tender to DIDG.
On July 21 2017, a local weekly was all over the place, casting aspersions about DIDG’s alleged inexperience and lack of capacity to embark on a deal of such magnitude.
Their anger is understandable.
The Diaspora community must not support the country’s economic revival efforts because in their eyes, it is tantamount to propping up the regime, as they call the Government.
Let us lay bare some critical facts here.
Of course there are some who are in the Diaspora for ‘easy’ money, donor money, who have taken every opportunity to vilify the country.
The reality is that these people do not represent the views of the Zimbabwean Diaspora community.
Then there is the other group of the Diaspora.
This is the group that has gone to foreign lands to enhance their skills.
They have gone to the Diaspora to make money which they now invest in the country.
This is the group that the Government was targeting when it launched the National Diaspora Directorate as part of efforts to enhance engagement and participation by Zimbabweans in the Diaspora in national development last year.
The directorate is in line with the National Diaspora Policy launched in September 2015 to boost remittances from Zimbabweans living abroad.
According to the United States-based Migration Policy Institute (MPI), Diasporas can play an important role in the economic development of their countries of origin.
Beyond their well-known role as senders of remittances, Diasporas can also promote trade and foreign direct investment, create businesses and spur entrepreneurship as well as transfer new knowledge and skills, it has been declared.
As of September last year, Diasporan remittances had reached US$1 billion.
And it gets better with the coming on board of the DIDG.
Their investment will help in diffusing the widely held misconception that the Diaspora community resents Zimbabwe.
We now urge the Government to engage them in revival of key companies like ZISCOSTEEL which is crucial in NRZ’s turnaround strategy.
At its peak, ZISCOSTEEL used to be the NRZ’s single largest customer, accounting for 30 percent of its business.
The rail network is designed to transport 18 million tonnes of cargo annually, but is currently carrying just under 2,8 million tonnes a year.
NRZ currently provides 30 passenger services a week.
There are 14 passenger services between Bulawayo and Victoria Falls, six between Bulawayo-Harare-Bulawayo and Harare-Mutare-Harare.
There are also four train services on the Bulawayo-Chiqualaquala-Bulawayo route.
Let us commend DIDG for showing the way.
The future indeed looks bright.

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