The Sunday Mail
Trade relations between the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Zimbabwe have exponentially risen over the past few years, as the two countries continue deepening diplomatic relations.
UAE has since become the country’s second-largest trading partner.
Zimbabwe’s Ambassador to UAE Lovemore Mazemo recently indicated that the establishment of embassies by the UAE and Zimbabwe in each other’s territories had deepened bilateral relations within a short space of time, resulting in the two countries developing strategic development partnerships.
The Second Republic has been mending ties with former partners and opening arms to new ones, as part of a new dispensation to promote sound relations and economic diplomacy.
The UAE opened its embassy in Harare in 2019, while Zimbabwe opened its embassy in Abu Dhabi in 2021.
In the two years, trade volumes between the two countries rose from US$800 million to US$1,6 billion.
In 2015, volumes stood at US$520 million.
Not surprisingly, the UAE overtook Zambia as the country’s second-largest trading partner in 2019, while Zimbabwe is now Dubai’s 16th-largest partner in Africa.
A 300 percent jump in bilateral trade between Harare and Abu Dhabi in the past three years and corresponding growth in overall ties reflect the historical partnership between Africa and the Arab world, the Emirates News Agency (WAM), which is the official news agency of the UAE, quoted President Mnangagwa during his recent visit to the country for the Expo 2020 Dubai.
“The relations between Zimbabwe and the UAE are growing so fast in all sectors. Three years ago, our bilateral trade was around US$400 million [only], but it jumped in 2021 to US$1,6 billion, and the UAE has now become Zimbabwe’s second-largest trading partner,” the President said.
UAE provided the country a crucial helping hand in March 2019 when Cyclone Idai struck, incidentally during the second day of the President Mnangagwa’s three-day visit to the country.
“So, I cut short my visit and rushed back home because, sadly, it had caused a lot of destruction of property and lives. We lost over 600 people and another 600 disappeared,” the President told WAM.
“Then, His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, sent two planeloads of humanitarian assistance to Zimbabwe, which went a long way in helping our people and mitigating the impact of the cyclone.
“So, thereafter, the relations grew faster and faster and deepened, and now the UAE is the second-largest trading partner of Zimbabwe.”
UAE has greatly expanded its influence on the African continent in recent years.
Last year, Dubai-based logistics firm DP World pledged to invest more than US$1 billion in infrastructure throughout Africa over the next few years.
This expansion dovetails with Government plans to push an export-led growth strategy, which has started bearing fruit.
Zimbabwe’s exports between January-December 2021 stood at US$6,03 billion, which is a 37,3 percent increase from US$4,4 billion in 2020.
It is the highest-ever figure on record.
Crucially, it exceeds the 10 percent growth targeted through the National Export Strategy.
Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry director of international relations, Mr Omar Khan, recently said the potential for synergies that could further bolster trade and investment opportunities between the two countries was high.
Zimbabwe’s main exports to Dubai are pearls and precious stones, which account for 95 percent, with tobacco, edible fruits and nuts also being part of the basket.
Zimbabwe largely imports value-added products from Dubai such as mineral fuels, essential oils and cosmetics, electronics and value-added precious stones.