From Kuda Bwititi in DOHA, Qatar
QATAR yesterday made a commitment to fund developmental projects in Zimbabwe’s education, health and micro-finance sectors, as President Mnangagwa’s administration sealed a comprehensive financial agreement between Doha and Harare.
Government will now have to provide project proposals in the targeted sectors for funding to be released.
President Mnangagwa yesterday morning held private talks with Qatar’s Minister of Defence Dr Khalid bin Mohamed Al Attiyah before touring the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy, the body which is masterminding Qatar’s projects for hosting the 2022 Fifa World Cup.
Speaking to journalists after meetings with senior officials from the Qatar Fund for Development (QFFD), Finance and Economic Development Minister Patrick Chinamasa said the ball was now in Zimbabwe’s court to submit project proposals.
QFFD is a public development institution that helps developing countries implement development programmes.
“I met the director-general of the Qatar Funding for Development and their mandate is to give aid to three sectors, mainly education, health and micro-finance. We have agreed that we are going to explore projects for assistance in those three areas.
“We have to go back home and identify the projects. They do not fund unless there is a project and it’s us now who must submit project proposals which they look at and decide whether or not they will assist us,” said Minister Chinamasa. He added that there were discussions on scholarships for Zimbabwe students willing to study in Qatar.
“We have also had discussion with Qatar Foundation, which is responsible in Qatar for developing human capital. So they run a lot of universities and they also offer scholarships for people who may want to study in universities in Qatar.
“We are going to submit applications for scholarships for students from Zimbabwe who may want to study here,” said Minister Chinamasa.
Similarly, Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) Governor Dr John Mangudya said he had fruitful deliberations with officials from some Qatari funding institutions.
“We have held some discussions with some institutions and the engagement will be ongoing, so I cannot be able to reveal much at the moment. What is important is that we have started the process and the results will start to show in time.”
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Enterprise Development Mrs Abigail Shonhiwa said plans were underway to increase bilateral trade between Harare and Doha as it “had been dismal” before now.
“There are many opportunities that are there to be unlocked on the investment side. The figures are pretty low, not even a million, so the potential is there. The discussions that we have had so far show that there is great potential in agriculture, infrastructure, tourism, and manufacturing. We are producing quite a number of products and there are a lot of opportunities that are offered here in horticulture, food and dairy products.”
During his tour of the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy, President Mnangagwa was shown how Qatar intends to leave a legacy that lasts beyond the global football showpiece that will be held in four years’ time.
Some of the cutting-edge structures that will be used beyond the 2022 World Cup include detachable stadiums that will be donated to developing countries soon after the end of the football showpiece.
Ahead of the 2022 World Cup, Qatar is undergoing massive infrastructure development, with widespread construction of new buildings taking place in the capital, Doha, and other areas.
On Monday, President Mnangagwa met the Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani.
Part of his delegation includes Cabinet Ministers Patrick Chinamasa, Perrance Shiri, Winston Chitando, RBZ Governor Dr John Mangudya, permanent secretaries Mr George Charamba and Mrs Abigal Shonhiwa, and other senior Government officials.
Measuring just 11500 square kilo-metres (updated) and with a population of 2,5 million – the majority of who are migrant workers – Qatar is small but is one of the richest nations in the world.