Nduduzo Tshuma in Kinshasa, DRC
PRESIDENT Mnangagwa has said Zimbabwe and the Democratic Republic of Congo must fully exploit the potential value of their partnership and investment prospects that would translate into tangible benefits for the two countries.
Speaking at a State banquet held in his honour by his counterpart, President Joseph Kabila last night, President Mnangagwa said Zimbabwe was committed to partnering with DRC in a number of strategic joint ventures.
“My Government stands ready to partner with the DRC to leverage on our comparative advantage in a broad array of sectors through strategic joint ventures and trade, not only for goods and services for our respective economies, but for Africa and the world at large,” he said.
President Mnangagwa reiterated that Zimbabwe was open for business, adding that the country needs to catch up with other nations after about 18 years of isolation due to illegal sanctions.
The country, he said, was re-engaging the rest of the world for mutually beneficial foreign direct investment. He said the country is also seeking to expand cooperation with countries that have stood with Zimbabwe through its hardships and rekindle relations that had soured.
“We pay tribute to the Government and the people of DRC for being among those countries that stood with us throughout the difficult years,” he said.
President Mnangagwa said the joint permanent commission on cooperation (JPCC) between the two countries will be held soon.
“I am confident that discussions at that platform will further strengthen our bi-lateral cooperation through the full implementation of strategic, concrete and mutually beneficial projects and programmes. I exhort those who will be meeting at the JPCC to be mindful of the weighty expectations of our peoples and Government.”
President Mnangagwa said the country stands ready to play its part in the expansion of infrastructure along the North – South corridor which will help consolidate regional integration and increase intra-Africa trade.
President Mnangagwa said the country is pursuing investment in the energy sector with the government putting in place a number of measures to mitigate the country’s energy deficit.
He said the country has begun to mordenise and mechanise agriculture, inviting investors into all levels of the agro value chain.
President Mnangagwa said Zimbabwe, like DRC, is rich in minerals with a wide array of unexploited resources hence the mining industry still presents immeasurable potential that the country will seek to leverage on to resuscitate the economy.
The President reiterated his administration’s commitment to providing all the necessary comfort to former President Cde Robert Mugabe.
President Mnangagwa said his administration has also adopted a zero tolerance to corruption at all levels and across all sectors both private and public.
On the forthcoming harmonised elections, President Mnangagwa committed that his administration will ensure that they are peaceful, credible, transparent, free and fair and in conformity with African Union and Sadc guidelines.
He said the polls will be open to interested international observer missions.
Speaking earlier, President Kabila said he received President Mnangagwa not only as Zimbabwe’s Head of State but also as a dear friend and comrade.
He said Zimbabwe will never be forgotten in the DRC for her efforts in restoring the country’s territorial integrity. He said his country stands ready to strengthen relations with Zimbabwe.