The Herald

Kazakhstan honorary consul meets Min Shava

This was revealed by Foreign Affairs and International Trade Minister, Ambassador Frederick Shava during the signing ceremony of the Air Services Agreement on Cooperation and Assistance with his South Korea counterpart, Mr Cho Tae-Yul, on the sidelines of the South Korea-Africa summit here on Sunday.

Farirai Machivenyika

Senior Reporter

KAZAKHSTAN Honorary Consul to Zimbabwe, Mr Kenneth Sharpe, has called for the strengthening of ties between the two countries following his appointment to the post.

Speaking after paying a courtesy call on Foreign Affairs and International Trade Minister Dr Frederick Shava in Harare on Wednesday following his appointment as the Honorary Consul General for Kazakhstan to Zimbabwe, Mr Sharpe said: “It’s quite an honour to represent Kazakhstan in Zimbabwe and I see it as an opportunity for us to learn from each other, to collaborate, because if you look at the size of the country of Kazakhstan, it’s about 20 million people. Zimbabwe has a similar size population. You could argue if you combine the local domestic population with the diaspora, we’re the same size”.

Mr Sharpe said Zimbabwe has a lot to learn from Kazakhstan, a country in central Asia and one of the former republics of the Soviet Union.

“Our GDP is very different. Today in Zimbabwe we have a GDP of around US$50 billion.

“Kazakhstan has a GDP of US$300 billion, six times our size of the economy,” he said. “But yet we have the capacity to grow to be the same size as that economy, and if you look at the aspirations of His Excellency our President, he wants us to be an upper middle-income country by 2030, and currently they are an upper middle-income country.

“So, I think we have good experiences to share between the countries, and I look forward to promoting business opportunities in Zimbabwe, to bring investors into Zimbabwe, to bring reliable investors who want to be here for the long term, without the mentality of extracting as much out as possible, but investing into the country, yes to make money, yes to create employment, but more importantly to be of use to the country, to be useful.”

Mr Sharpe said he looked forward to promoting investment in both countries, and to encourage exchange of tourism.

“Very few Kazakh tourists are coming to Zimbabwe yet we have a wonderful tourist industry, they also have a tourist industry, and I’m sure there will be an interest for Zimbabweans to travel to Kazakhstan.

“Other exchanges that could be encouraged are in areas of culture and education”, Mr Sharpe said.

He said Kazakhstan’s digitalisation programme employs about 120 000 people and generates almost US$2 billion.

“They’re 80 percent digitalised — the whole government, and I think they can share and collaborate across those platforms. So, in essence I’m quite positive and excited about what this opportunity brings for both countries. And I’m honoured to serve as just a servant. I don’t get anything out of it, but I’m glad to have this opportunity,” Mr Sharpe said.

Honorary consuls are a common method of using nationals of foreign countries to formally help nationals of the appointing country. They do not represent the appointing country diplomatically but do deal with queries and offer basic consular functions.