Lebanon upscale economic cooperation
Talent Chimutambgi and Tsitsi Tasaranarwo
Zimbabwe has scaled up its economic and diplomatic relations with Lebanon with the latter expressing interest in venturing into various sectors to attain economic renaissance in the country.
A Lebanese delegation led by Mr Ali Hayders yesterday expressed desire to invest in various sectors after seeing the vast investment opportunities in the country, including in Information and Communication Technology, mining and mineral beneficiation, energy and power development and infrastructure development.
Other areas of focus will be agriculture inputs, machinery and equipment manufacturing, transport, tourism, food processing and health, among others.
Two mega projects are set to be implemented soon after the finalisation of consultations with relevant stakeholders in related fields.
The investment pact falls under the auspices of the Lebanese-Zimbabwe Friendship Association (LZFA) with the Middle East state keen to expand diplomatic ties as well.
The Second Republic led by President Mnangagwa has opened doors open for investors under the mantra “Zimbabwe is open for business”.
This has attracted interest from various states which are now keen to invest in the country and this is seen as a way of counterbalancing hostilities that emerged during the previous Republic.
Speaking at First International Conference of the Zimbabwe-Lebanese Friendship Association held in Harare yesterday, Foreign Affairs and International Trade Deputy Minister Dr David Musabayana said the meeting was a timely intervention as the country was geared towards attainment of the country’s national goals through implanting a litany of measures.
Dr Musabayana said Zimbabwe was in an engagement drive and mending old connections as part of its foreign policy to improve its relations with the international community to promote economic renaissance in line with the National Development Strategy1.
“Let me hasten to point out that this event takes place at a time when the country is implementing a cocktail of measures aimed at transforming Zimbabwe into an upper-middle income country by 2030,” said Dr Musabayana.
“As we aspire to achieve this ambitious goal, the government of Zimbabwe is advancing the foreign policy thrust of engagement and re-engagement where economic diplomacy takes the centre stage. Under this policy thrust, I wish to reiterate that Zimbabwe adopted a stance that it is a friend to all and enemy to none, and the mantra that Zimbabwe is Open for Business,” he said.
Dr Musabayana said the Government was striving to alleviate poverty among the general populace with President Mnangagwa unwilling to leave anyone behind.
“The business sector is key to the achievement of this ambitious goal as outlined in the National Development Strategy 1.
“The Government of Zimbabwe endeavours to make the economy more resilient and continues on a positive growth trajectory, thereby driving millions of people out of poverty. His Excellency the President, Cde Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa and his administration are committed to leaving no one behind as they work towards the achievement of Vision 2030,” he said.
Dr Musabayana said Zimbabwe had implemented a number of reforms aimed at promoting smooth running of business in the country, chief among them, the creation of the Zimbabwe Investment Development Agency in 2019.
“In terms of the Ease of Doing Business Environment, Zimbabwe is becoming an attractive investment destination as the Government continues to implement economic policy reforms to improve the business operating environment. These reforms are aimed at restoring policy consistency, predictability, certainty, credibility and reducing the cost of doing business in Zimbabwe.
“One of the major milestones of the reforms was the establishment of the Zimbabwe Investment and Development Agency (ZIDA) in 2019.
“This led to the creation of the One Stop Investment Services Centre under ZIDA with a view to expedite the processing of investment enquiries under one roof,” he said.
Mr Ali Morad, President of the Lebanese Zimbabwe Friendship Association said diversity of people and States, and the consequent intellectual diversity was a necessary and undeniable matter without which the world would have no taste or colour.
Speaking at the same occasion, a Lebanese representative and general manager of Pro-Services company Mr Ali Hayders said they were willing to invest in various sectors indicating they would begin with telecommunication and digital aviation in the shortest possible time.
“We are doing some engagements with relevant stakeholders, and once we are done, these two projects will soon commence. We also want to venture into digitalising the government systems and various other opportunities since Zimbabwe is an investment destination,” said Mr Hayders.