PRESIDENT Mugabe yesterday left the country for a week-long official working visit to United Arab Emirates. The visit is meant to strengthen the two countries’ economic, business and consular relationships. The President is accompanied by the First Lady Amai Grace Mugabe, Secretary for Foreign Affairs Ambassador Joey Bimha, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Media, Information and Broadcasting Services Mr George Charamba and senior Government officials.
Vice-President Cde Joice Mujuru is the Acting President.
The acting Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Media, Information and Broadcasting Services, Mr Regis Chikowore disclosed that the visit would also see the finalisation of moves to set up a Zimbabwean embassy in Dubai.
“The visit will among other things see the finalisation of arrangements to open a Zimbabwean embassy in Dubai and the consolidation of consular services as well as marketing opportunities for Zimbabwean minerals,” he said.
“In recent months, there has been a rapid growth in the volume of trade and business exchange visits between Zimbabwe and the United Arab Emirates.
“Dubai has emerged as one of the leading global diamond platforms with Dubai Diamond Exchange where the country’s diamonds were sold last month.
“The resumption of regular flights by Emirates Airlines between Dubai and Harare has generated significant business and tourist traffic which has necessitated the need for Zimbabwe to establish consular services in Dubai.
“His Excellency is expected to inspect facilities that have been identified to host the Zimbabwean Embassy which will offer both diplomatic and consular services.”
Relations between Zimbabwe and the UAE have been firming over the past decade with the country last month realising US$29.2 million from the sale of 380 000 carats of diamonds from Marange diamond fields at the Dubai Diamond Exchange.
The average price was US$76 per carat which was a 5,4 percent improvement on the second Antwerp sale which achieved US$72 per carat price average.
In a statement, the Minister of Mines and Mining Development, Cde Walter Chidhakwa said out of a total value of US$29,2 million realised, Government earned US$4,3 million from royalties.
He highlighted that the main objective of undertaking the international tenders was to assist the nation to get experience in conducting such tenders as plans were under way for the holding of an international tender in Harare before the end of the year.
Last year an envoy from Ras Al Khaimah, an Emirate in the UAE, visited Zimbabwe to follow up on projects the two countries agreed to venture into.
Speaking after meeting President Mugabe back in November Mr Al Alunuami reiterated his country’s commitment to working with Government in various socio-economic sectors.
He disclosed that his country was interested in mining, agriculture, education, health and food.