Minister hails Zim-India relations Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Senator Monica Mutsvangwa and Foreign Affairs deputy Minister David Musabayana watch as Indian Ambassador Vijay Khanduja and his wife are involved in “Deep Prajwalan” during the Indian Technical and Economic Co-operation (ITEC) Day Celebrations at a hotel in Harare yesterday. — Picture: Edward Zvemisha.

Zvamaida Murwira-Senior Reporter

Trade and economic linkages between Zimbabwe and India have continued to grow stronger, with investments from New Delhi accounting for US$500 million in recent years, Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister, Monica Mutsvangwa, has said. 

She said this last night while addressing students and senior Government officials during the commemoration of the Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation Day, a skills development initiative by India across the globe, where several people, including Zimbabweans, have benefited. 

“Our trade and economic linkages are also getting stronger with more investments coming to Zimbabwe,” said Minister Mutsvangwa. “We have seen Indian investments in the order of US$500 million coming our way in recent years. 

“These investments are showing a positive impact through economic growth rates, which are indicative of a healthy business environment in Zimbabwe. I am confident that more Indian investments coming directly via third countries are on the way in response to the call by President Mnangagwa that ‘Zimbabwe is open for Business”. 

India’s skills development programme being imparted on Zimbabweans, said Minister Mutsvangwa, dovetailed on the reconstruction exercise that has been embarked upon by the Second Republic, covering power generation, mining, infrastructure development in health, road, rail and air, among others, in line with the National Development Strategy 1 and NDS2, which will culminate in the realisation of Vision 2030. 

“Zimbabwe requires a number of specialised skills that are commensurate with the intricacies of the Fourth Industrial Revolution,” she said.

The various projects being undertaken by the Government, said Minister Mutsvangwa, were highly demanding, thus requiring highly skilled and well trained labour.

“I am pleased that through facilities such as ITEC, our students are able to acquire these skills and ensure that we are able to bridge our skills gap which in turn means that we can sustain our developmental objectives,” she said. 

Minister Mutsvangwa commended the long history of cooperation between Zimbabwe and India stretching far back as the 14th and 15th centuries. 

She noted that the cooperation did not only cover areas related to trade and commerce, but extended to education and intellectual pursuits and she gave example of Dom Miguel’s name, son of the Mutapas, who went to India to study and acquired skills required for matters of state demanded by his generation. 

She said the historical interactions, including India’s gold trade with the legendary Munhumutapa kingdom between the 9th and 14th centuries, founded the linguistic architecture of the modern day Chishona which evolved to modern Swahili. 

“The word Shona is derived from Sona which means gold in Hindi,” said Minister Mutsvangwa. “In that regard, therefore, we are connected to the Indians even by Christening. India was and still remains a loyal friend and our filial relations have existed ahead of the mercantilist and pillaging Portuguese, Dutch and British imperialists.” 

During the past year, there have been visits to Zimbabwe by senior Government officials, including a Cabinet Minister of that country. 

On the part of Zimbabwe, Minister Mutsvangwa led a delegation to India attending the CII-Exim Bank India Africa Growth Partnership summit in July this year, a development that shows the ever strengthening ties between the two countries. 

Minister Mutsvangwa outlined development assistance in forming of credit lines to the tune of US$468 million covering the Deka Pumping project and the refurbishment of Bulawayo Thermal Power Plant. 

There was also a gift of 1 000 tonnes of rice, donation of ambulances, Covaxin vaccines, among others. 

India’s Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Mr Vijay Khanduja, said his country was committed to deepening relations with everyone, including Zimbabwe in the context of South-South cooperation.

“We regard the whole world as one family. We believe we cannot develop alone,” he said. 

The diplomat outlined several strides his country has taken to reach a US$3,5 trillion gross domestic product.

He said they will continue to disseminate information on the ITEC programme to allow more people to participate globally. 

Foreign Affairs and International Trade Deputy Minister, David Musabayana, said India’s skills development programme will go a long way in realising President Mnangagwa’s vision.

“For us to make a mark and be counted we need to be competitive and you cannot be competitive if you do not have skills,” he said.

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