Nigeria: Obasanjo Meets President

29 November 2019

Former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo yesterday met President Mnangagwa at State House in Harare and discussed investment opportunities in the country.

Mr Obasanjo, who chairs South Africa-based Brenthurst Foundation, was accompanied by executive members, Messrs Nicholas Oppenheimer and Gregory John Barrington Mills.

Speaking after meeting President Mnangagwa, Mr Obasanjo said: "I have along with me, some people who have interest in investing here in Zimbabwe. That's what we have come for. We cannot talk of development without investment, domestic investment, foreign investment and regional investment. The meeting went on very well," he said.

Mr Oppenheimer is a billionaire South African businessman and philanthropist who already has interests in Zimbabwe.

He was formerly the chairman of De Beers Diamond Mining Company and its subsidiary, the Diamond Trading Company and former deputy chairman of Anglo-American.

Mr Oppenheimer said they were keen to invest in Zimbabwe, but did not give a specific time frame.

"Time will tell, but I would like to do investments in Zimbabwe because I am a good friend of Zimbabwe," he said.

The Oppenheimer family owns at least 720 square miles of conservation land across South Africa, Botswana and Zimbabwe, and for 85 years until 2012, it controlled the world diamond trade.

Mr Obasanjo commended the reception and fruitful discussions they had with President Mnangagwa.

He said issues discussed included the need to cement the brotherly relationship existing between Zimbabwe and Nigeria.

"We discussed a number of issues. Well it's about Africa, about Zimbabwe, and about Nigeria and about Africans; what should be the development between our two countries and what should be the development, progress and programme of enhancement of living standards of our people."

The Brenthurst Foundation was established by the Oppenheimer family in 2004 to help strengthen the performance of African economies.

It seeks to build on the Oppenheimers' initiative, which was designed to instigate debate in South Africa around policy strategies to achieve higher rates of economic expansion.

Today, the foundation has a wider African focus and aims to find ways to draw the investment needed for continental regeneration and prosperity.

The organisation says it intends to make a worthwhile contribution to economic growth in Africa by creating an environment conducive for positive economic change to strengthen the importance of Africa in the global market.

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