Zvamaida Murwira and Blessings Chidakwa
Zimbabwe and Russia have concluded multi-billion dollar deals in various sectors of the economy ranging from energy, mining, tourism, health, agriculture and media, a development that is expected to ensure that Harare realise the objective of Vision 2030, a Cabinet Minister said.
The deals were negotiated by President Mnangagwa in January when he visited Moscow and were concluded by Foreign Affairs and International Trade Minister Dr Sibusiso Moyo when he was in that country early this month.
Signing of the deals would be held in October during the Russia-Africa Summit aimed at strengthening and deepening ties between Moscow and African countries.
This was said by Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa while addressing journalists on the 30th Cabinet Decision Matrix held in Harare yesterday.
“Cabinet received a report by the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade on the Third Session of the Intergovernmental Commission on Economic, Trade, Scientific and Cooperation between Zimbabwe and Russia which was held in Moscow, Russia, from 5 to 7 August 2019.
“The co-chairs of the Third Session were the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade of Zimbabwe and the Minister of Natural Resources and the Environment of Russia. The deliberations achieved the following in the specified subsectors of Bilateral Cooperation,” said Minister Mutsvangwa.
Some of the agreements include six Memoranda of Understanding before end of 2019 that involve the mutual protection of classified information, cooperation in the field of geological exploration and mineral resource management; cooperation in platinum group metals, cooperation in the field of diamond exploration and mining and cooperation in the field of energy.
Others include a Memorandum of Agreement between the Ministry of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage of Zimbabwe and the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Russia.
“The MOU covers cooperation in the fight against violent crimes on human life, terrorism-related extremist activity, economic crimes and human and illicit weapons trafficking,” said Minister Mutsvangwa.
There was also a commitment by the two countries to support the upcoming September 2019 visit of the Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce to Moscow as a build-up to the October 2019 Russia-Africa Summit in Sochi, Russian companies also offered to supply civilian passenger and training aircraft, KAMAZ trucks of different ranges, rail freight wagons, agricultural and power engineering equipment and waste-to-energy plants.
“In cooperation in mining, six Russian companies undertook to cooperate with Zimbabwean companies in the prospecting, exploration and appraisal of Zimbabwe’s Mineral Deposits, agreement between the two countries on the need to carry out Joint Research Studies to confirm safety in the use of Chrysotile asbestos,” said Minister Mutsvangwa.
Other agreements were that five Russian companies to develop hydrological sites, refurbish, build new power generating facilities and to develop renewable energy in Zimbabwe.
Other areas include health, tourism, media and science and education.
“Zimbabwe is expected to benefit from Russia’s massive US$31,1 billion 2018 out-bound tourism economy, through the implementation of the five-year plan of action as specified in the Memorandum of Understanding in the Field of Tourism signed in 2017 between the two countries,” said Minister Mutsvangwa.
Responding to enquiries from journalists Dr Moyo said the deals were negotiated by President Mnangagwa when he went to Russia in January and he was there early this month to conclude them.
“This was a follow up of events which developed and it rekindles the kind of focus by Russia as far as its policy on Africa is concerned. A number of agreements were discussed and they were concluded, but they have been reserved for signature in October during the Russia Africa summit in Russia and this is where these agreements are going to be signed, but they have been agreed between the two parties,’ said Minister Moyo.
“It includes the power development agreement which Russia is quite eager. The power situation at the moment is transitory. It is not a permanent feature when you look at what this country. This agreement with Russia is only going to complement plans that are there, otherwise you are going to be smiling all over.”