Takunda Maodza in ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia
PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa yesterday met the Eastern and Southern African Trade and Development Bank (TDB) president Admassu Tadesse, and the financial institution made a commitment to arrange lines of credit worth at least $500 million.
TDB has also been roped in as the advisory bank for the US$3 billion Batoka power project, which is being jointly developed by Zimbabwe and Zambia at Batoka Gorge along the Zambezi River.
The two neighbouring countries are expected to share the 2 200 megawatts (MW) that will be generated from the project.
President Mnangagwa met Mr Tadesse in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, where the Head of State and Government and Commander-in-Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF) is set to attend the 32nd Ordinary Session of the African Union Assembly, which officially opens today.
It was a busy day for President Mnangagwa from morning right into the late hours of the night as he sought lucrative deals that will help turn around the economy.
“TDB is organising lines of credit, especially as a result of our interaction with Belarus around the economy. TDB is coming in as the advisory bank for the Batoka Power
Project and possibly next month, TDB is doing an agreement with the RBZ for $500 million worth of credit lines to Zimbabwe,” Deputy Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet Mr George Charamba told journalists after the meeting.
He said TDB, which has assets worth more than $5 billion, was also following up on deals clinched by President Mnangagwa on his recent visit to Belarus.
“The bank is being used by Belarus to follow up on projects agreed following His Excellency’s visit. The President’s day has been so busy because interest in Zimbabwe both as an economic player and investment destination is huge,” added Mr Charamba.
President Mnangagwa was in Belarus last month where he met his counterpart Alexander Lukashenko.
Harare and Minsk signed deals covering infrastructure development, agriculture science and technology, education and training, among others.
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) also pledged to help mobilise resources to ensure Zimbabwe’s economy is revived.
Speaking to journalists after meeting President Mnangagwa , UNDP administrator Achim Steiner said: “As the UNDP, we have been engaged and are engaging Zimbabwe since many, many, many years (sic). Our meeting today follows my visit in April last year and our keen interest to ensure that the economic recovery is supported both from the perspective of the reforms within but also by an engagement from international community side. Our discussion with His Excellency were focused on mobilising economic momentum, particularly investing also in the recovery process related to a number of key areas in Zimbabwe’s economic development. I committed to the President that the UNDP will engage . . . and we look forward to cooperating and hopefully having Zimbabwe’s future economic prospects rise quickly.”
Norway Prime Minister Ms Erna Solberg also paid a courtesy call on President Mnangagwa and discussed bilateral relations and investment opportunities in Zimbabwe.
According to Foreign Affairs and International Trade Minister Dr Sibusiso Moyo, who also attended the meeting, PM Solberg explored investment opportunities in Zimbabwe.
“Primarily, she wanted to understand the processes and the situation as far as investment is concerned, and that how can both public- and private-owned organisations in Norway come and participate in Zimbabwe,” said Dr Moyo.
President Mnangagwa told PM Solberg the investment environment in Zimbabwe is peaceful, except for isolated events, and there is room for Norway companies to invest.
Norway also sought Zimbabwe’s support for a seat in the United Nations Security Council as a non-permanent member.
Earlier in the day, President Mnangagwa had met Ethiopian Airline chief executive officer Tewolde Gebremarian and Africa’s biggest airline offered a life-saving partnership deal for Air Zimbabwe that include bringing planes to Harare for joint operations, training of pilots and turning Zimbabwe into a regional aircraft maintenance hub.