The Sunday News
FROM sharing trenches during the liberation struggle to warding off white supremacist-backed rebels (Renamo), Zimbabwe and Mozambique have stood by each other through thick and thin.
And it is in that brotherly spirit that the two sister Republics have now translated that relationship, which goes as far back as the Munhumutapa Empire, from the battlefields to the industrial fields.
Addressing the inaugural Zimbabwe-Mozambique Business Forum and Exhibition in Harare yesterday, President Mnangagwa said relations between the two countries are now firmly rooted on modernisation and industrialisation, a status he described to his visiting Mozambican counterpart, Filipe Nyusi, as reassuring.
“Zimbabwe and Mozambique have vibrant, diverse, competitive and growing economies, hence, there is a wealth of opportunities for businesses looking to expand into new markets. It is reassuring that the cornerstone of our relationship has now moved from the battlefield to industries, manufacturing, value addition and beneficiation, as well as increased production and productivity,” the President said.
President Nyusi today winds up a three-day State visit that was biased towards trade and economic co-operation and whose a delegation comprised business leaders from his country.
In his speech, President Mnangagwa said the presence of a strong Mozambican delegation that was led by the Investment and Export Promotion Agency of Mozambique (APIEX) demonstrates Mozambique’s commitment to strengthening bilateral co-operation, trade and investment between the two countries.
“This forum affords our respective private sectors and entrepreneurs an opportunity to explore the many business opportunities that exist between us.
The forum, which saw the Zimbabwe Investment Development Agency (Zida) and ZimTrade signing Memorandum of Understandings with their Mozambican counterparts, was held under the theme, “Accelerating Trade and Investment between Mozambique and Zimbabwe through Strengthened Partnerships”.
President Mnangagwa said the theme was apt as the two nations co-ordinate efforts towards delivering timely results and high impact initiatives for the prosperity of their economies and peoples.
“I am confident that this business forum and exhibition will also provide the requisite mechanisms for in-depth business to business transactions to achieve concrete successes”.
Mozambique is currently Zimbabwe’s fourth largest global export market after South Africa, the United Arab Emirates and China, and is also Zimbabwe’s fifth largest source market after South Africa, China, Singapore and Mauritius.
President Mnangagwa, who has opened Zimbabwe for business and to the world through engagement and re-engagement, invited Mozambican businesses to explore investment opportunities in the country in the agriculture, energy, mining, infrastructure development, transport, tourism, Information Communication Technology, and education sectors.
“As Zimbabwe journeys towards the attainment of a prosperous and empowered upper middle income society by 2030, we are improving production and productivity across all sectors of the economy. This will require additional energy. It is, thus, commendable that negotiations on a broad Memorandum of Understanding on Energy are progressing well. Accordingly, its conclusion must provide a comprehensive and structured framework for increased co-operation in this important area,” he said.
“Zimbabwe is open for business and my Government continues to improve the business environment to make our destination more favourable for trade and investment. We are
aware that capital goes where it feels safe. In our quest to realise sustainable development, no one and no place is being left behind. Investors are thus invited to pursue opportunities across our country’s 10 provinces and set up shop, under attractive incentives”.
Ever passionate about innovation, the President told the forum to draw lessons from the Covid-19 pandemic and develop sustainable solutions to give impetus to industrial development, while strengthening resilience of the two countries’ respective economies against global shocks.
“You must as the private sector, increase your respective capacities to produce goods and services from Africa, for Africa and the world. The Covid-19 pandemic taught us that we cannot afford to always depend on those from elsewhere. Our youths must be supported to be innovative, riding on science and technology as well as the expansive natural resource endowments found in our countries.
“Under the African Continental Free Trade Area, the challenge is on us to collaborate as governments and the private sectors and embrace the opportunities presented by this important Continental framework. This should lead to a prosperous Africa, premised on growing intra-African trade and investment, a digitalised economy, accelerated industrialisation and the creation of jobs for our growing young population”.
The President added that the Business Forum should create jobs, stimulate economic development and growth through private sector led projects and initiatives, with the private sector working hand in glove with the Government for national development and improving the quality of life of Africans.
On his part, President Nyusi underscored the importance of economic co-operation among African countries.
“This is the largest delegation I have taken with me and we have had meetings and meetings. I brought five Ministers because of the importance we attach to our relationship. We are brothers and sisters, we have a shared history, we need to improve the well-being of our people, we need to generate wealth for our people.
President Mnangagwa and President Nyusi witnessed the signing of two partnerships between, ZIDA, ZimTrade and APIEX Mocambique, which are both Government entities, as well as the Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce (ZNCC), Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI) and Beira Business Association under the private sector.
The President has made it his mission to transform Zimbabwe into an upper-middle-class economy by 2030, and the foundation and framework towards that noble goal is manifest in the engagements and re-engagements he has with foreign countries and businesses.