Belarusian leader Harare-bound
Zvamaida Murwira-Senior Reporter
Bilateral relations between Belarus and Zimbabwe are set to scale new heights with an historic three-day State visit of the European country’s President Alexander Lukashenko to Harare beginning Monday.
This will be the first such a visit to a sub Saharan country, where Mr Lukashenko will hold crucial bilateral discussions with his counterpart President Mnangagwa as engagement and re-engagement efforts by the Second Republic continue to bear fruit.
In 2019 President Mnangagwa visited Belarus where, together with President Lukashenko, they committed to strengthening co-operation in various sectors that include agriculture, mining, infrastructural development and science and innovation.
There has been reciprocal visit by officials from the two countries where cooperation in several facets of the economy has been enhanced further giving impetus to the Second Republic led by President Mnangagwa’s policy thrust of engagement and re-engagement as the country moves towards attainment of an upper middle class income economy anchored by National Development Strategy 1.
Foreign Affairs and International Trade spokesperson, Mr Levit Mugejo confirmed the visit in a statement yesterday saying it will strengthen cooperation in the political, economic, mining and agriculture among others.
“The President of the Republic of Belarus, His Excellency Alexander Lukashenko, will pay a State Visit to Zimbabwe from 30 January-1 February 2023. During the State Visit, His Excellency President Lukashenko is scheduled to meet His Excellency President Dr. E.D Mnangagwa,” said Mr Mugejo.
“The visit is historic, as it is the first such undertaking to a Sub-Saharan African nation, by President Lukashenko. The State visit is meant to strengthen the existing excellent relations between Zimbabwe and the Republic of Belarus. The two countries have strong cooperation in political, economic, mining, agriculture and Disaster Risk Management. Several agreements are under consideration and are expected to be signed during the visit. President Lukashenko and President Mnangagwa are also expected to launch the Second Phase of the Zimbabwe- Belarus Agricultural Mechanisation Programme.”
In October last year, Belarusian Deputy Prime Minister, Mr Piotr Parkhomchik, was in Zimbabwe where he held bilateral meetings with various ministries as the two countries cemented their long standing cordial relations.
Zimbabwe has received multi-sectoral support from Belarus since the countries established diplomatic relations 30 years ago.
Several bilateral cooperation agreements were signed in Harare providing a legal framework for that multi-sectoral cooperation.
Zimbabwe enjoy multi-sectoral benefits on account of this relationship, which include the two financing facilities of US$50 million and US$51 million for the modernisation of Zimbabwe’s agricultural Sector.
In 2020, President Mnangagwa officially launched the Belarus Farm Mechanisation Facility at the Institute of Agricultural Engineering, Hatcliffe in Harare.
There was also a launch in July 2021, of the Forestry and Fire Fighting Equipment Facility procured through Aftrade DMCC following financing by the Belarus Government, which was another significant development in the two countries’ relations and has contributed to the recapitalisation of Allied Timbers Zimbabwe.
Other investments and support Zimbabwe has received from Belarus include the investment
by the Bison Agro Machinery Company in Willowvale, with the concomitant knowledge and
skills transfer, the equipment at Hwange Colliery and at the Zimbabwe Consolidated
Diamond Company in Chiadzwa provided by Belarusian firm, which is a major global manufacturer of mining dump trucks and transport equipment for mining and construction and the supply of buses.
Zimbabwe has also hosted a delegation from Belarus who met officials from the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development to discuss co-operation and continued support in the supply of farm mechanisation equipment to Zimbabwe.
Belarus has committed to supplying fertilisers, increase national strategic grain reserves and supply mechanised equipment.