By Tendai Mugabe and Nyemudzai Kakore
Zimbabwe and Belarus yesterday signed several deals worth millions of dollars across various economic sectors, as the international community continues to view Zimbabwe in good light following the ascendancy of President Mnangagwa last year.
Vice President General Constantino Chiwenga (Retired) witnessed the signing of the agreements by various Cabinet Ministers, while Belarus was represented by its Chief of Presidential Affairs General Colonel Victor Sheiman.
The first agreement was a US$43 million deal for the supply of agricultural equipment to Zimbabwe and the other deal was a US$15 million for the supply of forestry equipment to Allied Timbers.
Air Chief Marshal Perrance Shiri (Retired) signed the two agreements on behalf of Zimbabwe.
The two countries also signed joint venture agreement on mining, where Mines and Mining Development Minister Winston Chitando signed on behalf of Zimbabwe.
Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development Minister Professor Amon Murwira signed a Memorandum of Understanding concerning cooperation in science and innovation, while Industry and Commerce Minister Dr Mike Bimha signed another MoU on economic and trade cooperation with Belarus.
Transport and Infrastructural Development Minister Dr Jorum Gumbo signed an MoU that would result in cooperation between Zimbabwe and Belarus in areas like aviation, rail and roads.
On the other hand, Energy and Power Development Minister Simon Khaya Moyo inked deals in the supply of energy and power.
Speaking after signing the deals, Dr Gumbo said support from Belarus was most welcome.
“We want to reach a situation whereby we can canvass for support for the projects we have in the ministry,” he said. “Today, we have signed this MoU to allow us to cooperate with Belarus in the areas of transport, particularly in the aviation sector, construction of our airports, the railway sector and roads, including bridges.”
Minister Khaya Moyo they expected the deals signed with Belarus to drive the economy.
“My area, particulary energy and power, constitutes key drivers to the economic development of any country and it is important, therefore, that we become self-sufficient in energy and power,” he said.
“We are at the moment importing power from neighbouring countries in South Africa and Mozambique, but it is quite clear that shortly we shall be self-sufficient.
“They (Belarus) are going to participate in this area, including solar.”
Officiating at the signing ceremony, VP Chiwenga hailed relations between Zimbabwe and Belarus.
“You came here just two days ago and in those two days we have covered a lot ground in the areas of bringing our two countries, our two peoples, in the areas of economic development for the betterment of Zimbabwe and Belarus,” he said.
“Today (yesterday) after extensive discussion, we saw ourselves signing an agreement in agriculture for a total of US$43 million and US$15 million for Allied Timbers.
“Zimbabwe is an agricultural country and mechanising our agriculture means we are going to produce more and we will be able to export more and we will be able to achieve the food security of our country.”
VP Chiwenga also welcomed the signing of deals in mining.