SA, Zim to improve ties

Source: SA, Zim to improve ties | The Herald May 5, 2016

Paidamoyo Chipunza Senior Reporter
The newly appointed South African Ambassador to Zimbabwe Mr Mphakama Mbete said his focus during his four-year term in the country will be on building strong economic and trade relations between the two countries. Speaking after paying a courtesy call on Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko at his Munhumutapa Offices in Harare yesterday, Ambassador Mbete said as long as people were hungry, it would not be easy to solve many of the social issues affecting both South Africa and Zimbabwe.

He said there was therefore need to intensify efforts towards building the economy, trade and investments in both countries. “We must be strong and continue to intensify co-operation and working together in the economic, trade and investment areas to build our economies. For as long as people are hungry, it will not be easy to solve many issues in the society.

 “We agreed that would be one of the key areas of focus during my four years here, to assist towards building strong economic and trade relations,” he said. Ambassador Mbete said there was also need to bring in the business community in the SADC framework of business and trade for it to be successful.

“We’ve got to convince our business communities that they have to work with our governments to build the economies of the SADC countries and that, it is in their interest too to take part in that.

“It is in the interests of their children and their grandchildren to work with our governments to build a strong SADC economy, which will benefit all of us including our business communities,” he said. He said there was also need to strengthen on an ongoing basis the strong historical relations between South Africa and Zimbabwe led by the ruling parties in both countries.

He said part of his deliberations with VP Mphoko was on common experiences the freedom fighters of both countries had during the liberation struggles of both countries. Zimbabwe has always been among South Africa’s top three trading partners on the continent and South Africa is one of the top investors in the Zimbabwean economy.

Of late, the two countries signed new agreements on trade and co-operation, mutual assistance between customs administrations, water resources management, diplomatic consultations and a bi-national commission agreement.