Zim, Malawi commit to expedite agreements Foreign Affairs Minister, Nancy Tembo

Cletus Mushanawani

Mutare Bureau

ZIMBABWE and Malawi have emphasised their commitment to conclude all outstanding Memoranda of Understanding and agreements that are important in facilitating multi-sectoral cooperation for the mutual benefit of the two States.

The two countries’ Foreign Affairs Ministers met in Lilongwe yesterday for the 11th Joint Permanent Commission on Cooperation (JPCC), between the two sister countries, which share historic ties since the days of the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland that existed between 1953 and 1963.

The JPCC between Malawi and Zimbabwe was held ahead of President Mnangagwa’s three-day State visit to Malawi following an invitation by his Malawian counterpart, President Lazarus Chakwera.

President Mnangagwa is expected to leave Harare for Lilongwe today.

During the JPCC session, Malawi was represented by its Foreign Affairs Minister, Nancy Tembo, while Zimbabwe was represented by Acting Foreign Affairs and International Trade Minister, Dr Joram Gumbo. 

They both co-chaired the session which was in response to the invitation by Minister Tembo to her Zimbabwean counterpart.

The session was held in a friendly and convivial atmosphere reflective of the excellent relations subsisting between the two States.

The two Ministers reviewed the state of bilateral relations between the two States and also reviewed progress made in the implementation of joint decisions agreed upon during the 10th Session of the JPCC held in Harare, in December 2020.

They also explored new areas of bilateral cooperation, and the two ministers noted with satisfaction, the progress registered in the implementation of the previous joint decisions. 

Representatives of the two States underscored the need to maximise efforts in order to make up for the time lost due to the disruptions occasioned by the Covid-19 pandemic.

A joint communiqué issued after the session stated that the two ministers welcomed the conclusion of negotiations on a number of MoUs on cooperation in the fields of Local Government, police matters, gender, forestry management, immigration, energy, and information and broadcasting. 

“Negotiations were also concluded on instruments of bilateral cooperation between the two States’ public broadcasters and news agencies, the Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) and the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) and Malawi News Agency (MANA) and Zimbabwe Inter-Africa News Agency (New Ziana),” reads the communiqué.

The two ministers also noted the importance of ensuring that citizens of the two nations are made aware of the outcomes of the JPCC to enable them to derive the benefits of the framework. 

“The ministers reaffirmed their mutual desire to intensify bilateral economic exchanges with a special focus on sectors that hold promise for mutual benefit. 

“On this note, the two ministers re-emphasised the importance of the private sector as key players in cementing economic cooperation between the two States. In this regard, the ministers agreed to regularly convene the Malawi-Zimbabwe Business Forum, which will give their business communities a platform to meet and compare notes on business opportunities that are available in the two States.

“The two ministers agreed on the need to further deepen the already strong people-to-people relations through promoting closer social and cultural cooperation and harmonising the two States’ immigration and diaspora policies,” further reads the communiqué.

Minister Tembo also reaffirmed Malawi’s unwavering commitment to support the call for the unconditional removal of illegal sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe by some Western countries.

She also expressed Malawi’s gratitude for the humanitarian support rendered by Zimbabwe following the devastation caused by Tropical Cyclone Freddy in the Southern parts of Malawi in March. 

Zimbabwe has since dispatched 300 tonnes of maize meal to Malawi as part of Harare’s efforts to mitigate the plight of those affected by Cyclone Freddy.

President Mnangagwa also led a resource mobilisation drive for the benefit of victims of Tropical Cyclone Freddy in Malawi, which got an overwhelming response from captains of industry, transporters and religious organisations who pledged to donate several goods.

The pledges include grain, fuel, cement, transport and medical consumables, among others,

In response, Minister Gumbo reiterated Zimbabwe’s deepest sympathies and continued solidarity with Malawi and the bereaved families.

The two ministers also exchanged views on political, economic and social developments in their countries. 

Minister Tembo wished Zimbabwe successful and peaceful harmonised elections due to be held in August.

The ministers also reaffirmed their support for regional solutions to the growing threats to peace and security in the region that is posed by terrorist activities in Mozambique’s Cabo Delgado, and by rebel groups operating in the Eastern part of the DRC. 

On the global stage, the two Ministers noted the impact of the Russia-Ukraine conflict on food supply chains and national economies. The two called for a diplomatic solution to the conflict that takes into account the security interests of the two States. 

They also noted that the conflict highlighted the need for Zimbabwe and Malawi to redouble their efforts to ensure food security.

The two States agreed to continue supporting each other’s candidatures and positions at multilateral fora.

Minister Gumbo extended an invitation to Minister Tembo for the 12th session of the JPCC to be held in Harare in 2025.

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