By Daniel Nemukuyu
BELARUSIAN Chief of Presidential Affairs General Colonel Victor Sheiman arrived in the country yesterday on a three-day visit during which he is expected to meet President Mnangagwa to discuss investment in agriculture, mining, power, construction and transport.
He was received at Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport by Deputy Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement Vangelis Haritatos, Special Advisor to the Minister of Foreign Affairs Ambassador Stewart Comberbach, and other Government officials.
The tour is a follow-up to the President’s Belarus visit in January where a number of investment agreements were signed.
Gen Col Sheiman will meet President Mnangagwa to discuss the investments during his three-day stay in Zimbabwe.
President Mnangagwa and his Belarusian counterpart Alexander Lukashenko in January this year sealed eight agreements, and advanced a grand infrastructure scheme that could make Zimbabwe a regional transport and logistics hub.
The eight agreements cover various aspects of education and training, science and technology, agriculture and legal issues such as extradition.
Addressing journalists at the airport yesterday, Gen Col Sheiman said he had brought more proposals for joint venture investments with Zimbabwe.
“My visit is a follow up on President Mnangagwa’s meeting with our President in January. We have come with some proposals to supply agricultural machinery to Zim and trucks to ferry cargo.
“We have proposals for the supply of mining machinery and trucks.
“We are proposing joint ventures for production of wheat, corn, maize and soya beans. We also seek to partner Zimbabwe in increasing milk production and processing of the milk.
“We are also interested in joint venture deals in the production and processing of beef and chicken,” he said.
Gen Col Sheiman said Belarus was also keen on partnering Zimbabwe in the construction sector.
“We also want to propose partnership in construction. We want to build industrial enterprises and we are ready to build roads and bridges.
“We want to set up irrigation systems and transmission lines for electricity. We will also discuss the possibility of a joint venture for construction of power stations in Zimbabwe,” he said.
The grandest of the plans is a road and rail network being formulated under a tripartite arrangement involving Zimbabwe, Belarus and China to link the Indian and Atlantic oceans, across Southern Africa and through Zimbabwe.
The scheme, according to the envoy, involves several Southern African countries and indications are that a number of regional leaders have already expressed support for it.
In addition, Belarus will also invest in irrigation systems, residential housing, roads (possibly with China), and a 100MW solar power plant, a control system and distribution network in Zimbabwe.