Zimbabwe’s potential charms European countries President Mnangagwa receives credentials from Belgian Ambassador to Zimbabwe Mr Paul Jansen at State House in Harare yesterday

Wallace Ruzvidzo

Herald Reporter

Zimbabwe has vast potential in tourism, diamond production and beneficiation, with critical infrastructure to support investment, envoys from European countries that presented their credentials to President Mnangagwa yesterday have said.

Ambassadors from Belgium, Bulgaria and Cyprus said they would use their time in Zimbabwe to advance economic and political cooperation with Harare.

In separate interviews after their closed-door meetings with the President at State house, the ambassadors pledged to increase cooperation with Zimbabwe in various areas, including education and mining.

Belgian Ambassador to Zimbabwe Paul Jansen said during his tenure he would further Harare and Brussels’ business cooperation, primarily in the trade of diamonds.

He said Zimbabwe was an important diamond producing country with a key role to play in the trade of the precious minerals.

“Well, the relations are good, we have business relations which have been going on for years and were never interrupted.

“As you know Zimbabwe is a very important diamond producing country, my country has the city of Antwerp which is an important trading place for diamonds so we have been in relations for many years,” he said.

Amb Jansen said he would also promote Zimbabwe as a tourist destination of choice to fellow Belgians as the country boasts World Heritage sites and wonders.  

“There is vast potential for tourism here in this country, I see my fellow Belgians going to visit South Africa so they should come here too. This country has so many rich sites like the Victoria Falls, Great Zimbabwe and also wildlife which is amazing, so the potential of developing tourism in Zimbabwe is huge. Definitely this is where we should try to work together,” he said.

Belgium would also be interested in cooperating with Zimbabwe in renewable energy, climate change and infrastructure development.

The President welcomes Bulgarian Ambassador to Zimbabwe Ms Maria Tzotzorkava at State House in Harare yesterday

“I think we should develop these relations to other sectors; renewable energy and the fight against climate change because all our countries are victims of climate change, so definitely the whole planet has to unite to fight that.

“Also, on infrastructure, because we are also strong on railways and highways, there are definitely many areas for cooperation and one of my trade officers will be in Bulawayo for the (Zimbabwe International) Trade Fair, so definitely we are going to explore areas for business together,” he said.

Bulgaria’s Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Maria Tzotzorkava, said her primary mission was to build on the already existing cordial relations between Harare and Sofia.

She said Bulgarian companies were keen to establish joint ventures with Zimbabwean companies in fields that include pharmaceuticals production and Information Technology.

“Sofia-Harare relations have always been good, I am here really to not spare any efforts to promote and further them. I believe we have quite good opportunities in the field of trade. Already good relations were established between our respective chambers of commerce so this is a prerequisite for our businesses to step up and come here.

“We have good, developed companies in the field of office equipment, IT specialists and also in other areas like pharmaceuticals. Some of them would like to establish joint ventures here.

“He (President Mnangagwa) was very favourable towards this idea. He knows quite well that Bulgaria is a traditional friend of Zimbabwe. We were at the forefront of the fight against apartheid in the Southern Africa region. Bulgaria was among the countries defending the black population in this part of the world and after independence of Zimbabwe we also helped a lot and the economic relations were pretty dynamic. I am here to revive these relations,” she said.

Cyprus ambassador to Zimbabwe Atonis Madritis said the two countries already had a lot in common as former British colonies.

The President welcomes Cypriot Ambassador to Zimbabwe Mr Atonis Madritis at State House in Harare yesterday. — Pictures: Justin Mutenda

This, he said, would serve as a catalyst in enhancing cooperation in education and cultural exchanges.

“I can say historically, we have been bold countries. We fought fiercely for our freedom and independence. We supported the struggle of the Zimbabwean people for dignity, freedom and independence and at the same time we do appreciate the principled stance of Zimbabwe regarding the Cyprus issue and the continuous occupation of the northern part of Cyprus.

“We are not like the big countries, but we do have a considerably big community here in Harare and Bulawayo,” he said.

Ambassador Madritis said his main mission was to increase people to people cooperation between Zimbabwe and Cyprus.

“Some years ago we had a direct flight between Harare and Larnaca, the main airport of Cyprus, which was very convenient for many people. We have students of Zimbabwe in Cyprus. Hopefully after my visit I will do my very best to explore new ways to enhance people to people relations, not only through governments, that’s why yesterday (Wednesday) I visited the National Art Gallery to see your civilisation and hopefully we are going to manage to do something between our universities and museums in these fields,” he said.

Countries continue to warm up to Zimbabwe’s engagement and re-engagement drive which has opened to them vast investment opportunities in the country.

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