Empowerment deal for local youths on cards

HARARE - Local youth empowerment group, Zimbabwe Entrepreneurs Youth Action (Zeya),  has signed a multi-million dollar deal with an international South African investment company to empower local youths.

Brian Bhengu, the director of the Sandton-based Africa Connect Investments company, confirmed last week that they signed a memorandum of understanding with Zeya president James Pande for cooperation in mining, energy, aviation and health care. Feasibility studies and due diligence are expected to begin within the next two months.

The ANC youth league member said Africa Connect is a company that sources investment locally and internationally for infrastructure projects in Africa. It has a bias towards projects that benefit the poorest of the poor communities.

In 2013 alone,  Bhengu claims he successfully assisted youths in the Sadc region in securing  grants totalling $5 million for mentorship and professional training.

“Africa Connect has identified James Pande as a potential strategic partner,” Bhengu said from his South African base. “We found that the passion that he has for the youth cannot be questioned and what he has done for the youth of Zimbabwe is there for everyone to see. We have discussed and agreed on our areas of interest with Zeya.”

Pande said: “I believe everything is possible if people unite for a common cause and fight poverty amongst themselves and make sure that we come up with broad-based empowerment initiatives. Let’s look beyond our borders  and engage each other for strategic and meaningful partnerships.”

The 34-year-old Bhengu was confident that the Zimbabwean economy was soon going to take off.

“In a few years, about 25 percent of the world’s diamond production will come from Zimbabwe alongside South Africa,” he said. “Zimbabwe holds a large chunk of the world’s platinum deposits as well as coal.

“The success of the land reform programme will serve as a guarantor for food security, employment, foreign currency earnings and similar benefits.

“In so far as the Zimbabwean economy is concerned, the next challenge will be to work on measures to beneficiate raw materials.”

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