DIDG plans $200m investment bonds

HARARE - The Diaspora Infrastructure Development Group (DIDG), which won the $400 million National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) recapitalisation tender jointly with Africa’s largest rail company, Transnet, is mulling investing in various sectors of the economy.

DIDG chairperson Donovan Chimhandamba said the delivery of railway equipment last week to NRZ was “just the beginning” as the group is now on a credible path to mobilise for structured Diaspora investments.

“Diaspora remittances through formal channels are estimated to be $1 billion while remittances through the informal channels exceed $3 billion. The Diaspora remittances are too significant to be ignored and could be trebled if proper structures and incentives are put in place,” he said.

Chimhandamba noted that the investment group is structured in a way that allows the country’s expatriates around the world to participate in infrastructure investment programmes.

“We are in the process of assessing various investment structures including listed collective investment schemes and Diaspora bonds. Once we have launched these instruments we believe we can easily mobilise project-based investments from tranches of up to $200 million in leveraged capital per project,” he said.

DIDG is also setting up structures that will allow over 3,5 million Zimbabweans living in the Diaspora to repatriate their skills.

“We have many in the Diaspora who have gained skills and experience that Zimbabwe can use at this point in time. As DIDG we have now set up technical services consulting division called Diaspora Consult which will facilitate for the accretion of the various Diaspora individual skills. This will assist with driving a brain gain for Zimbabwe and provide technical support to DIDG-led projects,” Chimhandamba said.

The trained engineer further indicated that the recapitalisation of NRZ will not only resuscitate the parastatal, but will also make Zimbabwe an economic hub in southern Africa.

“A fight our Zimbabwe needs to have as united people, a united people that does not tear each other down but prop each other up. The North -South corridor has serious capacity issues, some of them arising from NRZ’s lack of investment in its rail network,” he said.

“The regional countries such as Botswana, Mozambique, South Africa, Namibia, Zambia and Malawi cannot sit and wait for us to organise NRZ forever. In the absence of NRZ recapitalisation, these countries will have to invest in rail and road infrastructure that bypasses Zimbabwe.

“If these mooted bypass projects happen, we can be rest assured that NRZ and Zimbabwe’s strategic importance in the north-south rail corridor will be gravely diminished, and the jobs and industries we wish to build might just become a pipe dream,” Chimhandamba said.

DIDG is a company founded and duly incorporated in Zimbabwe and South Africa spearheaded largely by Zimbabweans living in South Africa, Namibia, United Kingdom, Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom among other nations. The group’s principle motive is to establish ways that will unlock foreign capital inflows and know-how towards the development of Zimbabwe’s infrastructure. — The Financial Gazette

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