Zimbabwe Invited to International Energy Forum: What Are Benefits for the Nation?
Zimbabwe, a country blessed with valuable mineral resources such as iron and lithium, on Monday received an official invitation to join the International Energy Forum (IEF), the largest global gathering of energy-producing and consuming nations.
Zimbabwe's invitation to join the International Energy Forum means that the nation is no longer considered a "pariah state" and can reintegrate into the global economy and rebuild its own, Dr. Darlington Ngoni Mahuku, Lecturer at the Department of Peace & Governance, Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities, Bindura University of Science Education, told Sputnik Africa.
"Zimbabwe will benefit immensely by being a member of the IEF," Ngoni Mahuku said. "As part of the global village and global economy, Zimbabwe is no longer a pariah state, it now has a chance to revive its economy using its vast mineral resources to contribute to sustainable energy development."
The lecturer emphasized that earlier "illegal sanctions" by the West had caused
great damage to the country's development and plunged it into economic isolation.
The invitation in turn reflects President Emmerson Mnangagwa's policy of "Zimbabwe is a friend to all and an enemy to none," the essence of which is interaction with a wide range of countries, he added.
The expert cited Russia and China as countries that Zimbabwe could now benefit from engaging with in the energy sector
"The invitation is an opportunity for Zimbabwe to strategically position itself to benefit from various stakeholders and experts from countries like Russia, China and other countries that have always been supportive of Zimbabwe’s quest to rejuvenate its economy," Ngoni Mahuku opined.
The opening of the IEF door to Zimbabwe also demonstrates that there are nations that recognize the nation's "enormous potential," the lecturer noted. According to him, Zimbabwe is endowed with vast and untapped mineral reserves - gold, diamonds, platinum group metals, chromium, coal, iron, lithium and others.
Another expert, Dr. Ronald Chipaike, Lecturer in International Relations at Bindura University of Science Education, highlighted the development of lithium and said that the invitation is a recognition of Zimbabwe's influence in the metals sector.
He told Sputnik Africa that Zimbabwe has the largest lithium deposits in Africa and is likely to be one of the largest lithium producers in the world, which is particularly important in the context of the move towards electric vehicles due to rising carbon emissions.
"Lithium has somewhat brought Zimbabwe back to the community of nations. It proves that resource is power and could be used as a soft power tool going forward if government manages the resource well and to the benefit of the nation," the expert remarked, adding that lithium could be used to "mortgage future loans, or repayment of debt to multilateral institutions."
In addition, joining the IEF will open up
opportunities for capital injection into lithium and other energy sources such as solar power, "a low-hanging fruit which could alleviate Zimbabwe's energy problems," the lecturer added.
The International Energy Forum embraces diverse stakeholders, including member countries of the International Energy Agency and the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, as well as influential energy players such as South Africa, Brazil and China.