Sanctions busting…Zimbabwe to grow trade with friendly nations

Lawson Mabhena in Dubai, United Arab Emirates

THERE is a need to increase trade with friendly countries as a strategy to counter illegal sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe by some powerful Western nations, President Mnangagwa said here yesterday after meeting executives from the world’s leading commodities hub and global centre for trade.

Speaking to the media after meeting the leadership of the world’s leading free trade zone – the Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC) – at their headquarters, President Mnangagwa revealed that the UAE government institution is keen on marketing Zimbabwean minerals and being a gateway to the entire Arab region.

DMCC was established in 2002 and has since then transformed Dubai into a commodity trading and enterprise gateway to the Middle East. 

President Mnangagwa tours Dubai Multi Commodities Center with officials at DMCC Headquarters in Dubai yesterday. Picture Joseph Nyadzayo

The centre accounts for 11 percent of all foreign direct investment in the emirate and has been voted the number one free zone in the world for nine consecutive years.

“I have been exposed to the process of having our minerals marketed, and as a result of this contact and interface, we now know how best we should market our minerals and get the maximum benefit, the maximum value. I am happy that our friends here in Dubai are willing to assist us in marketing our minerals,” the President said.

“Zimbabwe is under sanctions, but the UAE has no sanctions on us. So, this is the region where we must market our products and trade must be focused on a region with no quarrel with us, not the British and Americans.” 

DMCC executives that met President Mnangagwa include Feryal Ahmadi (chief operating officer), Ahmad Hamza (executive director – freezone), Jignesh Sahvi (chief finance officer), and a Zimbabwean national Makomborero Nyakotyo (operations executive).

President Mnangagwa had a brief chat with Mr Nyakotyo, who described the occasion as “historic”.

“It will always be a historic moment both as an individual and in my professional capacity to finally meet His Excellency the President. His expression of pride to see one of his sons flourishing internationally in a Dubai Government company such as DMCC will always be priceless,” Mr Nyakotyo said.

He revealed that he is ready to market Zimbabwe and its products to the world.

“Sitting at the pinnacle of global trade, I am privileged every day to interface and work with commodities from different countries and origins across the world. Without any bias, I am proud to be an ambassador of Zimbabwean products which are exceptional in quality and competitiveness in a cutting-edge commodity industry. Zimbabwe is blessed with vast mineral resources and agricultural offerings which sets them ahead of the rest. They are one of the easiest products to connect with global trade markets,” he said.

In the morning, President Mnangagwa met representatives of companies with an interest in Zimbabwe’s agriculture sector.

Speaking to the media after he paid a courtesy call on the President, the CEO of Elite Agro, Dr Abdulmonem Almarzooqi, said good soils and climatic conditions make Zimbabwe an attractive investment destination.

President Mnangagwa meets Dubai Multi Commodities Center officials at DMCC Headquarters in Dubai yesterday. (Picture by )Joseph Nyadzayo

“We discussed all the opportunities which have to do with Zimbabwe’s food security, so we are looking at agriculture and livestock. Our team recently visited Zimbabwe to seek opportunities and we are mainly interested in farming blueberries and oranges,” he said.

“We have started doing due diligence for the farming of blueberries. We will be coming to see the lands offered to us. We have serious interest in Zimbabwe mainly for two reasons: you are south of the equator so we have different seasons which means we can now have blueberries all year round. 

“Secondly, the type of the land, the soil and climate that you have which is good for different types of crops. It is particularly good for oranges and blueberries.”

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