Source: Zim’s emerging market status draws interest | The Herald 30 AUG, 2019
From Kuda Bwititi in Yokohama
President Mnangagwa yesterday presided over a session of the Tokyo International Conference for African Development (TICAD) where he interacted with scores of business leaders gathered here.
On a hectic and fruitful day for Zimbabwe’s foreign policy drive, President Mnangagwa also met his Rwandan counterpart, President Paul Kagame, who gave firm support for Zimbabwe’s re-engagement programme.
A host of prominent global business leaders, including International Telecommunications Union (ITU) secretary-general Mr Houlin Zhao, also met President Mnangagwa.
Japan offered Zimbabwe a grant of US$2,7 million that will be allocated to Harare Central Hospital and a further $2 million for drought relief.
The Japan-Africa Business Forum was the foremost private-business- oriented activity at TICAD and was addressed by co-chairs, Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Egypt’s President and African Union (AU) chair Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.
President Mnangagwa was given special responsibility to administer the presentation of all Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) at the forum.
Japanese Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Mr Hiroshige Seko accorded President Mnangagwa the special privilege.
The honour enabled President Mnangagwa to interact with over 100 business leaders, leaving an indelible mark as all business leaders posed for a photo with him.
In an interview with Zimbabwean journalists at the end of the President’s meetings, Foreign Affairs and International Trade Minister Dr Sibusiso Moyo said the special privilege granted to President Mnangagwa at the business forum symbolised the positive impact Zimbabwe had made at TICAD.
“One of the key fundamentals at this summit was dialogue with the private sector. So there was a precursor to that which was the views of the private sector from Japan and the views of governments from Africa and the views of other private sectors from other countries that were here and their views on how best economies can be transformed.
“This has given birth to a lot of memoranda which were signed by different countries, including what Zimbabwe signed with the Japan External Trade Organisation (JETRO) and ZimTrade for the exchange of trade and investment between the two countries.
“This was when the President was honoured to preside over all the MoU agreements which then were signed during TICAD 7. He was accompanied by Japan’s Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry,” he said.
Minister Moyo said the hype generated by President Mnangagwa had put Zimbabwe on the global map in terms of attracting investors.
“This symbolises a very important fact. He presided over all agreements that were signed here,” he said.
“This is the kind of interest that has been generated to this emerging market called Zimbabwe.”
Minister Moyo said during his meeting with President Mnangagwa, President Kagame had expressed his unreserved support for Zimbabwe’s re-engagement with the international community.
“President Kagame and President Mnagagwa have a chemistry between them that is very compatible. They always meet at every international session to exchange ideas and brief each other. President Kagame also supports Zimbabwe in its quest to end its isolation from the international community,” he said.
Minister Moyo said Japan’s Foreign Affairs Minister Taro Kono also announced a combined US$4, 7 million grant to Zimbabwe.
“At a different forum, I had the honour to meet the Foreign Minister of Japan and in our meeting, he raised quiet a number of pledges to support Zimbabwe in terms of investment and trade.
“We agreed that our political relations are excellent but our economic diplomacy is not up to date and therefore it was critical that we had to consider the establishment of a Joint Permanent Commission between the two countries so that we can then micro-focus requirements between the two countries.
“In the process they presented a gratis of US$2, 7 million for Harare Hospital and also over US$2 million which has been taken through the World Food programme. They also made a commitment to consider various aspects like further investment into infrastructure like roads,” Minister Moyo said.
After his meeting with President Mnangagwa, Mr Zhao said the ITU is keen to expand cooperation with Zimbabwe.
“We note that Zimbabwe in recent years has had very good ICT development. We would like to encourage good corporation between ITU and Zimbabwe. We also encouraged the President to highlight the message of ICT development through the UN General Assembly process to facilitate ICT investment, and the President agreed. We have our office in Harare and we will expand our operations,” he said.