Mugabe courts foreigners on nuclear project

Itai Mushekwe

IN a desperate effort to kick-start Zimbabwe’s nuclear energy aspirations, President Robert Mugabe has invited foreign investors to partner government in tapping into the country’s newly-found

uranium deposits.


Mugabe made the invitation yesterday at the opening of the 12th annual general meeting of the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) in Harare.


Once processed, the uranium will be used to beef up the country’s electricity generation capacity, which is currently heavily dependent on imports from neighbouring countries. He said the threat of electricity power shortages in sub-Saharan Africa by 2007 makes a compelling case for greater innovation in regional energy generation and distribution.


“In Zimbabwe, for instance, geological surveys have confirmed the presence of uranium, itself a critical alternative source of energy, which, if used as productive material for peaceful economic and social purposes, can be a springboard for economic success,” said Mugabe. “We therefore invite able foreign investors to come and join hands with us.”


Zimbabwe has since the inception of the poorly executed land reform programme failed to attract meaningful investment. Government believes uranium will attract new investment into the country.


Zimbabwe’s newly-found uranium deposits have raised eyebrows across the world. Uranium is a rare mineral with multi-purposes. It can be used to generate nuclear energy and at its deadliest is an essential ingredient used for producing weapons of mass destruction, thus attracting numerous interested parties who aim at increasing their military prowess.


Mugabe recently announced that the country had uranium deposits.

Last week a private American intelligence organisation, Stratfor, said Zimbabwe did not have the capacity to generate nuclear energy due to lack of capital and technological infrastructure. It also noted that Zimbabwe needed over 2 100 megawatts of power but currently has a deficit of between 400 and 500 megawatts.


In southern Africa, neighbouring South Africa has the only nuclear power station at Koeberg, while Namibia has a uranium mine near the port of Walvis Bay.