UAE backs Zim’s growth agenda President Mnangagwa welcomes United Arab Emirates (UAE) Deputy Minister of Cabinet Affairs for Competitiveness and Experience Exchange Mr Abdullah Lootah at State House in Harare yesterday. — Picture: Believe Nyakudjara.

Wallace Ruzvidzo-Herald Reporter

The United Arab Emirates is committed to aiding Zimbabwe’s development agenda and ultimately its vision to become an upper-middle-income economy by 2030, the UAE’s Deputy Minister of Cabinet Affairs for Competitiveness and Experience Exchange Abdullah Lootah has said.

A high-level delegation from the UAE office of the Vice President and Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum is in the country to enhance relations as well as oversee knowledge transfer programmes for the two countries’ mutual benefit, as the Second Republic’s engagement and re-engagement drive continues bearing fruit.  

The UAE has pledged to aid Zimbabwe’s digitisation agenda as well as increase efficiency in service delivery and governance systems for the benefit of Zimbabweans, among other areas.

In turn, the UAE will be looking to tap into Zimbabwe’s agricultural nous as the delegation was highly impressed by the country’s attainment of food self-sufficiency and security.

In an interview following a closed-door meeting with President Mnangagwa at State House yesterday, Deputy Minister Abdullah Lootah said he had been sent by the UAE leader Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan to convey a message to the President that “the UAE is there for Zimbabwe”.

The UAE envoy described relations between the two leaders as “brotherly”.

Since the advent of the Second Republic, relations and cooperation between Zimbabwe and the UAE has grown exponentially.

“It was an honour for me to be able to meet the President. I was here to convey the greetings and the warm messages from Highnesses Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan the President of the UAE and his brother Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum the Vice President and Prime Minister.

“Both of them are sending their brother President Mnangagwa their warm greetings.

“They are also passing another message that the UAE is there for Zimbabwe, especially when it comes to Government experience exchange programmes, this is what we are doing for three days here, we are working together with our brothers and sisters in the Government of Zimbabwe in knowledge transfer,” he said.

Deputy Minister Abdullah Lootah revealed that Harare and Abu Dhabi had identified 10 workstreams for cooperation.

These, he said, would see to it that accelerated quality service delivery and Governance would be accorded to the generality of Zimbabweans.

The education, health, energy and infrastructure development sectors are set to be among the first beneficiaries of the programme.

“There are 10 work streams that we have decided to focus on, the blessing came from both leaderships in both countries.

“These workstreams are meant to be felt and experienced by the average citizens on the streets. No matter what we do as government workers and civil servants, if what we do does not reach the citizens then there is no point. 

“The workstreams will ensure that there are quality services offered to the citizens and there will be some attractive packages offered to the businesses in the country. 

“The areas which we will focus on are about accelerating some of the initiatives that we will be working on with our friends here in Zimbabwe which will result in better services to the communities across sectors such as education, health, infrastructure, energy and so on,” he said.

The UAE’s special envoy said they would also assist Zimbabwe with knowledge and skills on how to move from being a paper-driven to a paperless society. 

Zimbabwe, he said, would undoubtedly feel the “improvement and transformation”.

“We will also ensure not only the quality of services but the speed of services given the time it takes, the number of procedures that any citizen has to go through will be minimised. 

“Out of this programme everyone will feel the improvement and transformation. 

“One area that is very key for us is digitisation, moving from a paper-driven society like we did in the UAE into a paperless society, how we can use technology to enable citizens and businesses to grow and prosper in the best way possible,” he said.

Deputy Minister Abdullah Lootah described Zimbabwe as a beautiful country while commending Zimbabweans for their enthusiasm and “positive vibes”.

He also took time to applaud the Second Republic for ensuring food security in Zimbabwe. 

“The minute you land in this beautiful country, immediately you are experiencing smiles, positive vibes, energy and there is a lot of enthusiasm. 

“You can see it on the people’s faces whether at the airport or even on the streets.

“I am looking forward to spending more time in my next visit, it’s about Government exchange programmes so there are things that we will be passing to Zimbabwe but we are also looking forward to learning from Zimbabwe especially in agriculture. Its an amazing sector where you achieved sustainability, self-sufficiency, food security so there are a lot of areas that we will also learn from this gorgeous country,” he said.

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