Busy itinerary for President Mnangagwa in Malawi
Cletus Mushanawani in LILONGWE, Malawi
PRESIDENT Mnangagwa arrived here yesterday for a three-day State visit at the invitation of his counterpart, President Lazarus Chakwera.
The President was welcomed at Kamuzu Banda International Airport by President Chakwera and senior Zimbabwean and Malawian Government officials.
He inspected a guard of honour mounted by the Malawi Defence Forces and also had a 21-gun salute in his honour before the two leaders departed for City of Lilongwe Civic Centre.
At the Civic Centre, President Mnangagwa signed the visitors’ book and was presented with a dummy key by the Mayor of Lilongwe, Councillor Richard Banda, granting him Freedom of the City.
President Chakwera later hosted President Mnangagwa for a State banquet at the Kamuzu Palace last night.
President Mnangagwa’s itinerary today will see him visiting the Parliament of Malawi where he will sign a visitors’ book before proceeding to Kamuzu Mausoleum at the Kamuzu Palace.
The two Presidents will co-chair bilateral talks between Malawi and Zimbabwe and thereafter, will witness the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding.
They will also have an audience with African Heads of Mission in Malawi.
President Mnangagwa’s delegation, which comprises Acting Foreign Affairs and International Trade Minister, Dr Joram Gumbo, Finance and Economic Development Minister, Professor Mthuli Ncube, Industry and Commerce Minister Sekai Nzenza, and Women Affairs, Community Development and Small and Medium Enterprises Minister Sithembiso Nyoni, will visit the Malawi Tobacco Auction Holdings.
President Mnangagwa will on Friday visit Blantyre where he will be briefed on the devastation caused by Tropical Cyclone Freddy and thereafter, he will make a symbolic presentation of the relief items on behalf of the Government and people of Zimbabwe.
Zimbabwe and Malawi are engaged in talks to revise their Bilateral Trade Agreement to ensure that it addresses the pressing needs of the two nations.
The two countries signed a Bilateral Trade Agreement in 1995, which allows duty-free imports on reciprocal basis, provided the goods meet 25 percent minimum domestic content provisions and conform to each other’s standards.
Trade volumes between Zimbabwe and Malawi have remained low over the years amid calls for the private sector and other stakeholders to seize trade opportunities by leveraging on the available preferential bilateral and multilateral trade arrangements.
The two countries’ Foreign Affairs Ministers, Minister Nancy Tembo and her Zimbabwean counterpart, Minister Joram Gumbo, who was representing Foreign Minister, Dr Frederick Shava, this week held the 11th Joint Permanent Commission on Co-operation (JPCC) in Lilongwe.
The two ministers noted with satisfaction the progress that had been registered in the implementation of the previous joint decisions in a joint communique issued after the session.
Ministers Gumbo and Tembo also noted the importance of ensuring that the citizens of the two countries were made aware of the outcomes of the JPCC to enable them to derive the benefits of the framework.
Minister Tembo also expressed Malawi’s gratitude for the humanitarian support Zimbabwe is rendering to Malawi following the devastation caused by Tropical Cyclone Freddy in the southern parts of Malawi in March.