Cletus Mushanawani Herald Reporter
PRESIDENT Mugabe left Harare today on a 10-day official visit to Singapore, Kuwait and Dubai. He is expected to join at least 65 world leaders for the third Arab-African summit to be hosted by Kuwait from November 19 to 20.
President Mugabe, who is the Head of State and Government, and Commander-in-Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces, was accompanied by First Lady Amai Grace Mugabe and senior Government officials. He will first pass through Singapore on his way to Kuwait, and visit Dubai on his way back home.
He was seen off at the Harare International Airport by Vice President Joice Mujuru, Senior Minister of State Cde Simon Khaya Moyo, Minister of State for Presidential Affairs Cde Didymus Mutasa, Minister of Defence Dr Sydney Sekeramayi, Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development Dr Obert Mpofu, Minister of Information, Media and Broadcasting Services Professor Jonathan Moyo, senior Government officials and service chiefs.
Cde Mujuru is the Acting President.
Russian President Vladimir Putin is also expected to attend after being invited by the Emir of Kuwait, Sabah Ahmad. Russia currently heads the G-20.
The third Africa-Arab Summit would be held under the theme: “Partners in Development and Investment.”
The summit was preceded by the meeting of the Joint Council of Ministers which ran from Monday to Tuesday.
An Africa-Arab Development Forum was also held on Monday and Tuesday.
Over the two days, the summit is expected to explore opportunities in Africa and Arab regions and promoting collaboration between African Union member states, the Arab region and the world at large.
The summit is also expected to focus primarily on how the private sector actors from Africa and the Arab world could forge sustainable partnerships with a view to enhancing trade and investment relations between the two sides.
Recent statistics at the Arab League showed that the volume of trade between Arab and African countries had reached US$25 billion in 2010.
The Kuwait summit would also feature some national and regional project portfolios with regional investment and export trade opportunities that require international and partnerships.
This is the third Arab-African summit. The first two were held in Egypt in 1977 and Libya in 2010.
At its 2010 summit held during the reign of the late Colonel Muammar Gadaffi, the Arab-Africa Summit attended by more than 60 Arab and African Heads of State called for promotion of cooperation in fields of energy production, water resources, infrastructure and agriculture, among other things.
The Libyan summit also adopted cooperation agreements including the Africa-Arab Partnership Strategy, Joint Action Plan 2011-2016, and the Resolution for the Establishment of the Joint Africa-Arab Fund for disaster response.