South Africa is Zimbabwe’s biggest trading partner and statistics are there to confirm that. South Africa and Zimbabwe are run by governments formed from liberation movements who won independence after protracted armed struggles against colonisers and history has that memory.
South Africa and Zimbabwe share a long border along the Limpopo River and have huge populations that share the same languages and culture either side of the border.
South Africa and Zimbabwe, therefore, share a lot in common, making it necessary for the two countries to keep their socio, economic, cultural and political antennae in sync.
It is laudable, therefore, that South African President Cyril Ramaphosa arrives in Harare today for the Bi-National Commission, which will be also attended by his Zimbabwean counterpart, President Mnangagwa. The BNC is expected to deepen and strengthen relations between the two countries and unlock critical value for sustainable development.
Statistics show that in 2018 alone, South Africa exported to Zimbabwe goods and services amounting to about US$2,1 billion while Zimbabwe exported goods and services averaging US$250 million. These figures point to serious trade and, therefore, need a more systematic and coherent approach between the two governments.
It is critical for these two countries to ring-fence their existing relations and also come up with new agreements from the social, political, economic and cultural perspectives.
The new agreements should capture the fast changing social, political and economic fundamentals so that their relationship remains relevant and viable to the needs of their people.
The issue of the Beitbridge Border Post should take centre stage as it is one of the biggest inland ports of entry, whose business tentacles spread across the region.
The two countries are expected to upgrade the border post while at the same time looking at ways of revamping the National Railways of Zimbabwe, which, when fully operational, will give good credence to the transportation of bulk goods between the two countries and beyond.
To date, the two countries sit on 45 agreements signed in previous bilateral engagements and these need to be improved on and to be fully operationalised.
It is hoped that sitting on agreements without fully implementing them should be a thing of the past, as the two countries forge ahead with giving more depth and meaning to their relationship.
The good thing is that there is equal zeal in both camps to make things happen for the two neighbours for the benefit of their populace.
This BNC will go into the history books of the two countries as the best ever thing to happen between the two countries in modern times.
Source : The Herald