Zimbabwe, Belarus trade grew 8-fold last year

Gibson Nyikadzino, Harare Bureau

High-level visits and continuous engagements in forums between President Mnangagwa and Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko, have been crucial in shaping the trajectory of excellent bilateral relations between the two countries, Foreign Affairs and International Trade Minister Frederick Shava said yesterday.

These diplomatic interactions have resulted in bilateral trade growing eight times last year with more than 15 Zimbabwean delegations visiting Belarus.

Addressing delegates at the ministerial meeting of the first session of the Zimbabwe-Belarus Joint Permanent Commission on Cooperation (JPCC) in Harare, Minister Shava said the signing of several memorandums of understanding, agreements and commercial contracts between the two countries was an impressive bilateral path.

The two countries are deepening cooperation in sectors that include mining, infrastructure development, and science and innovation, with two more agreements in agriculture and industry signed at the JPCC meeting yesterday.

Other cooperation pacts are expected to be signed in Belarus capital Minsk during a scheduled visit by President Mnangagwa this year.

“The excellent bilateral relations that exist between Zimbabwe and Belarus have continued to grow at an exponential rate as illustrated by the frequent exchange of high-level visits and continuous engagements by our two Presidents in forums, the most recent being the meeting between our two Presidents on the sidelines of COP 28 that was held in Dubai in December 2023,” Minister Shava said.

Besides reciprocal State visits by President Mnangagwa in 2019 and Preident Lukashenko last year, Zimbabwe and Belarusian officials also had serious discussions on areas of mutual interest on the sidelines of the Non-Aligned Movement in Kampala, Uganda, last month.

Belarus’ Minister of Foreign Affairs and co-chair of the JPCC, Sergei Aleinik, noted that the foundation of cooperation between the two countries is trust between “our two leaders and mutually beneficial partnership based on honest and time tested relations”.

He expressed his country’s readiness to work with Zimbabwe in all areas and pledged to formalise suggestions that were made at the JPCC session.

“It is my sincere wish that all practical steps towards implementation of joint anchor projects should be reflected in the draft outcome documents prepared for our consideration by the senior official meetings, meetings which took place from 19 to 22 February.

“We will formalise the suggestions made by the parties concerning the areas of cooperation at the end of these meetings,” said Minister Aleinik.

Minister Aleinik said joint success stories like the mechanisation programmes in Zimbabwe can be used to scale up shared achievements to states like Mozambique or Botswana, where experience of both countries are needed.

Since the inception of the Second Republic, Zimbabwe and Belarus have deepened the scope of their cooperation by focusing on economic diplomacy and exchanges in critical sectors for economic revival and transformation.

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