Africa Moyo Deputy News Editor
Turkish investors have expressed interest in taking up opportunities in Zimbabwe, with the Turkish Airlines expected to play a critical role in the movement of people and cargo.
In emailed responses, Ambassador to Turkey, Alfred Mutiwazuka, said there is a lot of interest on Zimbabwe.
Zimbabwe opened its embassy in Ankara, Turkey, in October last year and consistent with the Second Republic’s thrust on promoting economic diplomacy, Ambassador Mutiwazuka has hit the ground running.
He engages members of the chambers of commerce in Turkey from various cities regularly and plans are afoot for the businesspeople to undertake exploratory visits to Zimbabwe.
“The Turkish businesspeople have expressed keen interest to visit Zimbabwe to scout for business opportunities. Already, I have engaged a number of companies who we are now lining up to visit Zimbabwe as early as next month,” said Ambassador Mutiwazuka.
“I continue to receive numerous enquiries on business opportunities between the two countries and have ably shared the relevant information.
“We are giving effect to our engagement and cooperation with both Turkish companies and Government departments by setting up a strong legal framework. This is to say we need to sign a number of Memoranda of Understanding with the Government of Turkey.”
Ambassador Mutiwazuka said he has already engaged the Ankara Chamber of Commerce, Turkey/Africa Business Council, Izmir Chamber of Commerce, Istanbul Chamber of Commerce, International Entrepreneur Businessmen and Industrialists Association (UGISAD), more than 10 private and family-owned companies which are among the top 20 in Turkey and have investments in neighbouring countries and Africa.
He has also engaged Zimbabweans in the Diaspora, who have a vital role in the re-engagement process.
A Diaspora Platform has been set up at the embassy, which includes over 2 000 Zimbabwe students studying in Turkey.
Said Ambassador Mutiwazuka: “The Turkish businesspeople have expressed keen interest to visit Zimbabwe.
“I continue to receive numerous enquiries on business opportunities between the two countries. I have also engaged the Turkish Airlines regarding its commencement of flights to Harare and the prospects for that are positive. This would certainly ease the movement of people and cargo and boost tourism and business between the two countries.”
Bilateral relations between the two countries are expected to flourish due to Zimbabwe’s new mission in Turkey.
Ambassador Mutiwazuka said the new embassy has aroused a lot of interest from Zimbabwean and Turkish people.
Pan African Chamber of Commerce board member Mr Langton Mabhanga, who was in Turkey recently, said he exchanged notes with Ambassador Mutiwazuka.
Mr Mabhanga said he was impressed by the embassy’s work.
He said there was “exponential interest” to invest in Zimbabwe by all sectors of the Turkish economy.
“To us, Turkey is an important economy given their economic history and spectacular growth.
“There is nothing painstaking that we are going through as a nation that Turkey didn’t go through, in fact, in multiple measure,” said Mr Mabhanga.
“Debts, unstable currency, energy challenges, high unemployment, poor working class, corruption and weak institutions yet at the convergence of its people, a collective determination to work the land by young and old, they turned around their economy in two years.”
Agriculture drove Turkey’s rapid industrialisation, while tourism is significant to the Turkish economy.
Mr Mabhanga said President Mnangagwa must be congratulated for the vision of setting up such a strategic diplomatic mission.
The President has announced that “Zimbabwe is Open for Business”, and has directed all Zimbabwean missions to engage in economic diplomacy.