Development partners urged to buy local 

Source: Development partners urged to buy local | The Herald

Development partners urged to buy local
VP Chiwenga

Mukudzei Chingwere Herald Reporter

ZIMBABWE’s quest for industrial revival and development can be boosted if development agencies providing aid in Zimbabwe can buy their products and consumables locally, Vice President and Minister of Health and Child Care, Dr Constantino Chiwenga, has said.

He made the call yesterday in remarks to the United Nations (UN) team led by the Resident and Humanitarian Co-ordinator, Mr Edward Kallon, who had called on the VP at his offices.

Zimbabwe, like the rest of developing economies, gets a lot of support from UN agencies and other development-oriented organisations supporting vulnerable communities augmenting Government efforts.

Product uptake at internationally competitive prices is one of the challenges afflicting the industry thus the coming on board of international agencies as buyers will go a long in solving this problem.

“We encourage the United Nations and all development partners to purchase locally-produced products,” said VP Chiwenga.

“I will give an example where we had 13 of our pharmaceutical companies which had almost collapsed and we resuscitated them. Varichem Pharmaceuticals has the capacity and machinery to manufacture ARVs (antiretroviral), so why should we import those?

“If it comes to prices, those can be discussed and negotiated with the companies. But it will help not only the companies, but the country to be self-sustainable. If you help us in that area, we will be grateful”.

VP Chiwenga welcomed the vastly experienced Mr Kallon as Zimbabwe’s UN resident co-ordinator.

He served in senior positions at the World Food Programme (WFP), worked in emergency, transition and development contexts in conflict and non-conflict settings across lower and middle-income countries.

“Our desire is to see what the United Nations Country Team has in store for Zimbabwe under the United Nations Sustainable Development Co-operation Framework (UNSDCF) for 2022 to 2026.”

VP Chiwenga noted the excellent relations that exist between Zimbabwe and the UN team singling out the good working relationship with the World Health Organisation (WHO) country representative Dr Alex Gasasira, a collaboration that helped the local Covid-19 response.

Mr Kallon said his team will ‘prioritise procuring goods and services locally’ and also reserved special praise for the country’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“I think Zimbabwe is one of the most effective countries in addressing the impact of the pandemic. I also want to acknowledge the development of a comprehensive national health strategy.”

Mr Kallon said from his short stint in Zimbabwe, since his arrival early this year, he has been impressed with developments going in various sectors of the economy.

“I only see opportunities and progress in Zimbabwe. There is light at the end of the tunnel,” said the UN representative.

Commenting on VP Chiwenga’s call to procure locally, Dr Gasasira acknowledged Zimbabwe’s expertise and implored the country to take advantage of international fora to market local products.

“A lot of progress has been made. We have a great opportunity at the upcoming World Health Assembly and also the regional meeting of African Ministers of Health to showcase what Zimbabwe can do”.

United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) representative to Zimbabwe Dr Tajudeen Oyewale also commended the good working relationship his organisation has with the Zimbabwean Government.

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