LATEST: President meets Swiss leader
Happiness Zengeni in DAVOS, Switzerland
PRESIDENT Mnangagwa, in Switzerland for the 48th World Economic Forum, today paid a courtesy call on Swiss President Alain Berset and discussed several areas of potential business and investment cooperation.
According to secretary for Information, Media and Broadcasting services George Charamba, the two leaders had fruitful deliberations centred on political and economic issues. President Mnangagwa took the opportunity to brief President Berset on the smooth transition that led to his ascension in November last year.
President Mnangagwa, accompanied by Foreign Affairs Minister Retired Lieutenant General Sibusiso Moyo, Mr Charamba and Industry and Enterprise Development Minister Mike Bimha met President Berset at his Davos Offices.
On the economic front Mr Charamba said President Mnangagwa briefed President Berset about amendments to the Indigenisation Act, availability of minerals for investors, tourism and manufacturing.
Nestle Zimbabwe has invested close to $30 million in the past 6 years for the refurbishment and upgrading of its cereals and Milo plants and equipment to increase production
The President also suggested that Switzerland could use Zimbabwe as a dairy products distribution hub the same way Nestle has done with New Zealand. He also briefed the Swiss leader on the legislative measures Government is taking to make the country more investor friendly.
Mr Charamba said President Mnangagwa told his counterpart about Zimbabwe’s unique economic situation. The fact that growing exports was critical for Zimbabwe; that it had abundant minerals, but was a net exporter of raw commodities and net importer of critical consumables.
The Zimbabwean leader pointed out that it would be critical if the European country assisted the Southern African nation to value add its produce. President Mnangagwa highlighted the point that Zimbabwe’s greatest potential lay in attracting foreign investment into mineral resources.
He told his counterpart that Zimbabwe has the world’s second largest platinum reserves after South Africa, and a host of other minerals like diamonds, coal, nickel and chrome.
Mr Charamba also said President Mnangagwa stressed that Government would emphasise dialogue with investors “so that we get to know which areas are of concern to investors that may have escaped our attention and that there was readiness to engage with a view to effecting the necessary legislative adjustments”.
“(President Berset) said they would support Zimbabwe. In terms of the issue of sanctions they are aware that former President and his wife, some service chiefs and of course ZDI were still on sanctions and that these sanctions were being reviewed periodically,” said Mr Charamba
“President Berset said with development back home there was a positive disposition within the European Union (EU), which is the furthest he went in signaling that they will be supporting Zimbabwe.”
MEETING WITH AfDB PRESIDENT
President Mnangagwa also met African Development Bank president Akinumwi Adesina, with the AfDB boss describing the meeting as excellent. The two discussed several areas of importance to President Mnangagwa.
“It was fantastic to meet with the President and I did commend him for the reforms he has put in place. We as the African Development Bank have always been there for Zimbabwe and continue to be there for Zimbabwe.
“We discussed several areas of importance to the President, agriculture is very important to him, to create jobs and revive rural economies.
“We discussed his interest with regard to infrastructure development in terms rail development, road development and connecting Zimbabwe to the ports, Beira Port and all of that. The President also mentioned his keen interest on the issue of tourism to make sure that we revive tourism,” said Dr Adesina.
Further, Dr Adesina said they also discussed job creation for the young people of Zimbabwe, as well as the issue of Zimbabwe’s AfDB arrears clearance.
The AfDB president said President Mnangagwa showed dynamism, passion, focus and commitment to address the issue of arrears to the bank.
“And obviously, we also discussed how to push forward on macro-economic stabilization for Zimbabwe and the whole issue of how we can create more incentives for a better environment in Zimbabwe. Overall, it was a very excellent meeting, I was very encouraged,” said Dr Adesina.
President Mnangagwa also met World Bank president Jim Yong Kim, but details of the meeting could not be immediately established.