The Sunday Mail
Zimbabwe and the United Arab Emirates yesterday signed agreements to enhance bilateral co-operation, as the new political administration takes international re-engagement and economic partnerships a gear up.
The Gulf nation, which was represented by two ministers, will establish a full embassy in Harare.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa oversaw the signing of the agreements by UAE ministers, Her Excellency Reem Al Hashimy (Minister of State for Foreign Affairs) and Dr Sultan bin Ahmad Sultan Al-Jaber (Minister of State in charge of Energy), at State House in Harare yesterday.
Minister Al-Hashimy signed a deal on the avoidance of double taxation with Finance and Economic Development Minister Patrick Chinamasa, and a bilateral investment promotion and protection agreement with Foreign Affairs and International Trade Minister Dr Sibusiso Moyo.
Dr Sultan signed an agreement for co-operation in the energy sector with Energy and Power Development Minister Ambassador Simon Khaya Moyo.
The visiting ministers, who were accompanied by a high-powered delegation of technocrats, held a private meeting with President Mnangagwa and Vice-President Dr Constantino Chiwenga. After that tête-à-tête, the UAE delegation held fromal talks with President Mnangagwa, VP Chiwenga and several Cabinet ministers.
In an interview with The Sunday Mail after the engagements, Minister Al Hashimy said the UAE’s relations with Zimbabwe were poised for growth.
“We are very excited to be here in Harare and very keen to look at ways in which we can explore a strong relationship with your great country. There are significant opportunities in energy and agriculture,” she said.
She said the rich Gulf nation was “very interested” in exploring opportunities in Zimbabwe.
“The Zimbabwean people are a very skilled workforce and the UAE is very interested in exploring your opportunities. I am very happy that this is my second visit here in Harare and I look forward to many more to come.”
Special Advisor to President Mnangagwa, Ambassador Christopher Mutsvangwa, said the visit had cemented plans to establish UAE’s embassy here.
“It was a visit of goodwill, of opening up investment between the two countries and generally cementing developing ties between the two countries.
“The most important thing is that the UAE is going to establish an embassy in Zimbabwe before the end of the year. We expect a full-fledged ambassador to come to Zimbabwe so that they can drive the relations between the two countries to a higher level.”
He went on: “Abu Dhabi is a major oil producing nation, a member of Opec.
‘‘They are fully conscious of the growing demand for fossil fuels not only for Zimbabwe, but for the region because we have the facilities in Mabvuku, which are enticing our friends to come to Zimbabwe and develop a spot market for fossil fuel energy based on our storage facility in Mabvuku.”
The delegation also pledged support for Zimbabwe’s health sector.
The UAE technocrats will remain in Zimbabwe to start technical work on the energy deal and inspect relevant facilities.