Takunda Maodza Assistant News Editor—
RUSSIAN Foreign Minister Mr Sergey Lavrov is expected in Zimbabwe on Monday on an official three-day visit during which a number of trade and investment deals would be sealed. He will be leading a high-powered business delegation with interests in various sectors of the economy, among them mining, energy, agriculture and infrastructure development.
Mr Lavrov’s visit would be preceded by the First Session of the Zimbabwe-Russia Joint Permanent Commission on Economic, Technical and Trade Co-operation beginning in Harare today.
He will pay a courtesy call on President Mugabe and participate in the commissioning of the Darwendale Integrated Platinum Group Metals Project on Tuesday.
Russian companies have a stake in the project.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed Mr Lavrov’s visit in a statement yesterday.
“The First Session of the Zimbabwe-Russia Joint Permanent Commission on Economic, Technical and Trade Co-operation will take place on the 15th of September 2014 in Harare, Zimbabwe. The Joint Commission will precede the official visit to Zimbabwe by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, Hon Sergey Lavrov,” the statement said.
“The Russian Minister is scheduled to pay a courtesy call on His Excellency the President, Cde R.G Mugabe and then participate in the commissioning of the Darwendale Integrated Platinum Group Metals Project on the 16th of September 2014.”
The Joint Commission session would be co-chaired by Foreign Affairs Minister Cde Simbarashe Mumbengegwi and the Russian Minister of Industry and Trade Mr Denis Manturov.
“The Joint Commission is expected to discuss cooperation in trade and investment, mining, energy, agriculture, information communication technology, transport, infrastructure development, tourism, and tertiary education sectors, among other issues,” the statement said.
It added: “The visit by the Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs and the holding of the Joint Commission are indicative of the long standing excellent relations between the two countries and the mutual desire to further enhance these relations.”
A business forum would be organized during the session of the Joint Commission.
“The forum creates a platform for the Zimbabwean business community to engage their Russian counterparts. The Russian business delegation includes representatives from companies interested in mining, energy, transport, agriculture, infrastructure development and joint ventures in the assembly of motor vehicles as well as agricultural equipment and machinery,” the ministry said.
According to the ministry, a number of deals would be discussed and signed.
“Agreements and Memoranda of Understanding are expected to be discussed and signed during this session of the Joint Commission. These would help deepen, strengthen and enhance the cooperation between the two countries, for the mutual benefit of their pupils.”
Relations between Zimbabwe and Russia date back to the liberation struggle when it supported nationalists who toppled the Ian Smith regime.
The war for economic revival has seen the country turning to its mutual friends in the mould of Russia and China for assistance.
Last month President Mugabe was in China where he clinched mega deals, with Beijing pledging to support Zimbabwe’s key economic areas that include agriculture, energy, tourism and railways.