'Russia – Zimbabwe' business forum prove mutual interest in bilateral relations development

'Russia – Zimbabwe' business forum prove mutual interest in bilateral relations development

The forum was held by the Russian Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Protection on 16 January. It was attended by the Republic of Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa, Chairman of the Russia-Zimbabwe Business Council, Board Chairman of JSC URALCHEM, Deputy Board Chairman of PJSC Uralkali, Dmitry Mazepin, Russian Chairman of the Russia-Zimbabwe Intergovernmental Commission for Economic, Trading, Scientific and Technical Cooperation, the Minister of Natural Resources and Environmental Protection, Dmitry Kobylkin, members of Zimbabwean government and the heads of large Russian companies.

Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa opened the meeting with his speech. According to him, the country is ready for reciprocal cooperation with Russia. Today, great attention is paid to attracting foreign investments for the recovery and development of the republic’s economy. He confirmed that the customs, tax and logistical conditions created for Russian companies that are ready to build their business in the country will not change. The President will protect and support foreign businesses in promoting their goods and services in Zimbabwe.

The parties discussed at the round table the prospects of relations development, turnover volume increasing and long term economic relationship implementing. Russian companies’ representatives underlined that to date business shows a great interest in working with such a fast developing country as Zimbabwe and with other friendly African nations. The forum resulted in signing the Memorandum of Understanding between the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Russia and the National Chamber of Commerce of Zimbabwe. The document was signed by the President of Russian Chamber of Commerce and Industry Sergey Katyrin and his Zimbabwean counterpart Tamuka Macheka.

Dmitry Mazepin commented on the business forum results as follows, 'My task was to arrange a platform where Russian business would see high-level guarantees from the President, the Minister of Finance, the Minister of Agriculture, the Minister of Natural Resources, the Chairman of the Central Bank of Zimbabwe. I believe the forum is a good opportunity for us to engage in many projects in Zimbabwe and other friendly African countries. We invite business community to participate in bilateral economic relations development. Today African market is underestimated but it has a great potential for business development. Of course, one cannot ignore country risks, i.e. the political climate, financial and logistical problems. However, I am sure that all these issues can be elaborated jointly. We heard the most important thing from the President of Zimbabwe: he provided personal guarantees of our investments security and promised support to Russian business. These are the key conditions for attracting capital to the country.'

The forum became the final event on the official agenda of the Zimbabwe delegation to Russia. The day before, in the presence of the Russian and Zimbabwean Presidents, URALCHEM and the Republic of Zimbabwe signed the Memorandum of Understanding in the Kremlin. Furthermore, on the same day, Dmitry Mazepin met with members of the delegation from Zimbabwe. They discussed possible cooperation in the field of agriculture, the supply of mineral fertilisers from Russia to Zimbabwe and other African countries, cooperation in the field of industry, mining and finance.