Zimbabweans have been urged to take a leading role in the valuation, beneficiation and marketing of the country’s gemstones if the country is to benefit from the vast mineral resources at its disposal.
Addressing a public lecture in the Midlands State University Great Hall on Friday, 7 April, 2017, titled, “Unlocking Zimbabwe’s Gemstone Wealth: Lessons from India”, India’s Ambassador to Zimbabwe, His Excellency Mr Rungsung Masakui stated that while Zimbabwe is endowed with vast mineral resources, the country stands to benefit more if valuation, beneficiation and marketing of these resources is handled by Zimbabweans.
Drawing parallels from the Indian experience, Ambassador Masakui noted that as a result of government support to the diamond processing in India, which includes giving loans at concessionary rates to institutions in the sector, the value of processed diamond exports in India had grown to $39 billion at the end of 2015 with the diamond processing industry contributing about fifteen percent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product.
The Ambassador stressed that in addition to concessionary loans, the establishment of diamond processing facilities, promotion of traditional craftsmanship and deployment of at least 5 000 marketing agents across the globe had propelled India to the status of a global leader in the diamond processing industry with at least sixty percent of all of the world’s processed diamonds having been processed in the Asian country.
Mr Masakui noted that among the structural deficiencies affecting gemstone mining and processing in Zimbabwe is the fact that the country has not yet established a gemstone cutting and processing centre. Additionally, foreigners, who could have undervalued the country’s mineral’s deposits, were responsible for the valuation of the country’s gemstones. In this light, Ambassador Masakui highlighted that it was imperative for Zimbabwe to partner with friendly countries in order to establish a gemstone cutting and processing centre while also embarking on innovative marketing of lesser-known gemstones, if Zimbabweans are to fully benefit from the mineral resources that the country is endowed with.
Senior members of the Midlands State University’s Administrative staff including the Acting Vice-Chancellor, Professor Victor Ngonidzashe Muzvidziwa, the Pro Vice-Chancellor Business Development and Administration, Professor K. H. Wekwete, the Acting Pro Vice-Chancellor Research and Academic Affairs, Professor D. Z. Moyo and the Acting Pro Vice-Chancellor of the Manicaland College of Applied Sciences, Professor A. Chawanda attended the public lecture.
The University Bursar, Mr A. Zvandasara, Deans of Faculties and Directors of different departments within the institution were present as were University staff and students who turned up in their numbers. Before the commencement of the lecture, Ambassador Masakui in the company of Mrs Masakui paid a courtesy call on the Acting Vice-Chancellor, Professor Muzvidziwa. The public lecture marked Ambassador Masakui’s second visit to MSU in 2017 after the Ambassador visited the University earlier in the year on a familiarisation tour.