Oliver Kazunga, Senior Business Reporter
BELARUS, making its maiden appearance at the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF), yesterday expressed readiness to discuss opportunities for increased economic co-operation with Zimbabwe.
Senior specialist in the foreign exhibition department of the Belarusian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Ms Slava Shevchuk, said the products they were showcasing were from her country’s four flagship companies namely BELAZ, Minsk Tractor Works, SOHRA Overseas FZE and Chefi.
“Belarus is ready to discuss opportunities for economic co-operation with Zimbabwe. “The two countries enjoy cordial relations politically and economically,” she said.
BELAZ is a manufacturer of haulage and earthmoving equipment and was showcasing 55 tonne and 130-tonne mining dump trucks.
Ms Shevchuk said SOHRA Overseas FZE was the official representative of the leading Belarus manufacturers in African Persian Gulf markets while Minsk Tractor Works was showcasing various agricultural and municipal operations.
“Farmers all over the world are attracted by tractors from Belarus primarily because of their service reliability, ease of operation, availability of maintenance and reasonable prices,” she said, adding that Chefi was also the leading Belarusian producer of the first-aid kits for vehicles, universal first-aid kits and medical products: medical cotton wool, bandages, gauze wads, and tourniquets, among others.
In an interview, design engineer Mr Ihar Zubik said his organisation was also working with the Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC) supplying earthmoving equipment.
“In 2017, we delivered to Zimbabwe 52 mining dump trucks and also we have delivered front-end loaders. Our equipment is working very well here (Zimbabwe).
“And going forward we will continue working with ZCDC in providing mining equipment as well as servicing the machinery.
“Both our countries have good relations, which we also see us as a country discussing opportunities for economic co-operation in different sectors,” he said.
Minsk Tractor Works director of representative offices in South Africa and Nigeria Mr Andrei Gerasimenko said:
“We are basically here to contribute to your mechanisation programme because we are aware of efforts by the Zimbabwean Government to develop agriculture and mechanisation.
“We are the producers of high quality and affordable tractors and we believe we can contribute a lot to the development of small and large scale farms in Zimbabwe”.
Early this year, President Mnangagwa visited Belarus where he held a business meeting with that country’s President Alexander Lukashenko.
The country has secured a US$120 million export credit line for the supply of machinery and equipment for agriculture, dam construction and mining.
Zimbabwe and Belarus have signed Memorandum of Understanding covering mining, science, technology and innovation, trade and economic co-operation, procurement of agri-equipment and fertiliser supply.
The two countries have enjoyed diplomatic ties since 1992 following the break-up of the Soviet Union, but it has only been in recent times — with President Mnangagwa taking a proactive role — that the nations have started extending these relations into the economic sphere.