The Sunday Mail
Zimbabwe and Belarus are this week expected to sign new multi-million-dollar deals that will help drive the country’s modernisation and industrialisation agenda, particularly in manufacturing, mining, energy and infrastructure development.
The deals will be finalised during Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko’s historic three-day State visit to Zimbabwe, which begins tomorrow.
The visit, President Lukashenko’s first to a Sub-Saharan African country, represents a milestone in the Second Republic’s engagement and re-engagement policy.
President Mnangagwa travelled to the Eurasian country in 2019, where Zimbabwe clinched several agreements that resulted in the country receiving support in mining, agriculture and infrastructure development.
Belarus’ Deputy Prime Minister Piotr Parkhomchik visited Zimbabwe late last year as a precursor to this week’s State visit.
Belarusian Ambassador to Zimbabwe Mr Alexander Sidoruk said President Lukashenko’s inaugural State visit would significantly boost Harare and Minsk’s growing bilateral relations.
“The State visit by the President of the Republic of Belarus, His Excellency Aleksandr Lukashenko, to the Republic of Zimbabwe is scheduled for January 30 to February 1,” he said.
“It is difficult to overstate the importance of this milestone event, which will give a significant boost to the existing and future inter-state contacts, and will contribute to a more intensive development of our partnership.”
Close ties between the two countries, he said, were “important components of the comprehensive strategic partnership”.
Ambassador Sidoruk said the complementary nature of the countries’ economies created a solid foundation for successful interaction and co-operation.
“The tasks that your President set for the Government are very ambitious and aimed at accelerated industrialisation of the country, further agricultural development and training of the highly qualified specialists,” he added.
“Belarus possesses the necessary experience and knowledge to support the Government of Zimbabwe in achieving these goals, to assist in the modernisation and development of the manufacturing and agricultural sectors of Zimbabwe by providing advisory and technical service, participation in the infrastructural projects, experience exchange and professional technical training in Belarusian educational centres.”
Discussions between the two Heads of State will centre on re-energising cooperation with a view to taking the bilateral relations to “the next level”.
“We understand that industrial cooperation, participation in promising infrastructure projects and the development of certain sectors of the economy will form the basis of our cooperation in the near future.
“We are also ready to continue cooperation in education, science and technology,” said Ambassador Sidoruk
“The plan is to discuss the prospective areas and open new horizons of interaction, particularly in political, economic and humanitarian cooperation, as well as interaction in international organisations.”
Separately, Foreign Affairs and International Trade spokesperson Mr Livit Mugejo said all was set for the historic visit.
“For Zimbabwe, this historic visit is a feather in the cap, as the country continues to explore arising opportunities from all its engagements at bilateral and multilateral platforms,” he said.
“We intend to leverage on our excellent political relations for increased cooperation in social, economic, agriculture, transport, mining and other related sectors.”
He said plans to ensure Zimbabwe’s full presence in Minsk were now at an advanced stage.
“On another note, Belarus now has an embassy in Zimbabwe, which again is a manifestation of our growing cooperation, which we continue to cherish.
“It is trite to assert that Zimbabwe and Belarus are expected to sign a number of agreements and review bilateral relations between the two countries,” he said.
Under phase two of the Belarus Farm Mechanisation Programme, Zimbabwe last year took delivery of 1 300 tractors of different models, 16 combine harvesters and various auxiliary agricultural equipment.
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