July 16, 2024

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Zimbabwe’s Emmerson Mnangagwa tasks ZimTrade, RDB to concretise all business agreements between Rwanda and Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe’s President Emmerson Mnangagwa has called on ZimTrade, the National Trade Development and Promotion Organization of the Republic of Zimbabwe, and Rwanda Development Board officials to do their utmost to concretise the terms of bilateral trade agreement to accelerate economic development in both countries.

By Ange de la Victoire DUSABEMUNGU

President Mnangagwa was speaking at Zimbabwe-Rwanda Trade and Investment Conference which takes place in Harare from this Monday, 28th March 2022.

The launch event was attended by various Ministers including Rwanda’s Minister of Trade and Industry, Beata Habyarimana, Officials from the Rwanda Development Board, Rwanda and Zimbabwe’s business community, Zimbabwe Government officials among many others.

The conference theme is “Explore,     Invest, and Export”.

During his opening remarks, President Mnangagwa hailed RDB and ZimTrade officials for their excellent work in facilitating joint efforts and the networking of the private sector from both countries.

“My expectation and that of My dear brother and colleague, the president of Republic of Rwanda, His Excellency, Paul Kagame is that ZimTrade and the RDB’s partnership, must result in increased trade flows and volumes while leap frogging the quality of made in Zimbabwe and Made in Rwanda products and goods and services respectively, to penetrate global markets.” President Mnangagwa said.

“I challenge you, as strategic bodies of our jurisdictions, to deploy your capabilities, and all-encompassing institutional capacities towards driving sustainable socio-economic development. Now, it is the time for you to actualize the various agreements between our two countries, while improving the efficacy in our trade and economic competitiveness.” Urges President Mnangagwa.

He explained that “The Zimbabwe Investment and Development Agency is facilitating the processing of investment proposals, including issuance of investment certificates, associated payments and licences among other aspects.

This is providing the much-needed convenience to investors.”

Furthermore, my administration has addressed issues that were of concern to investors in the past. These include guaranteeing security investment, and allowing repatriation of profits, as well as dividends and royalties. Over and above this, my government continues to prioritise efficiency of sector specific investment incentives. These include import duty exemption, or importation of equipment and machinery, and suspension of import duty on raw materials, among others.” He added

At the continental level, President Mnangagwa highlighted that the intra African trade and investment, which saw trade volumes growing to $ 120 billion is a clear reflection of the vast trade and investment opportunities within the continent of Africa.

“In this context, companies from both the Republic of Rwanda and Zimbabwe must exploit the business prospects descended under the common market for Eastern, Southern Africa and African continental free trade area.” He said

President Mnangagwa delivered a call to RDB AND ZIMTRADE to actualize all bilateral agreements

While concluding his remarks, President Mnangagwa tasked the two countries ‘business people that “The outcomes and recommendations of the conference deliberations must continue to empower a culture of progressive collaboration, production and productivity.”

 He called upon the two countries ‘industrialists to enhance value addition and diversify export mix through competitive and efficient value chains.

“In doing so, Africa will put to an end the perennial and unfortunate challenge of exporting primarily raw commodities for its sectors of the economy. But AGAIN, all deliberations at this conference should result in the crafting and refining of models to nurture and upgrade your skills and the growth of businesses with changing realities and trends… This must take into account the aspects of the ongoing Fourth Industrial Revolution which include research and development, innovation, entrepreneurship, as well as building resilience and adaptive capabilities.” Said Zimbabwe’s President as he was concluding his remarks.

In his speech, Allan Majuru, ZimTrade Chief Executive Officer explained that they have been working very closely between Rwanda and Zimbabwe, on investment, tourism and trade in the past years.

For this conference, Majuru said, “we need to make sure that it’s not only a talk show, but a working show, whereby by the end of the business, we have deals that are struck, so that we fit the credit investment goal.

He explained that “In Rwanda last year, we generated business and deals and negotiation up to the tune of around $ 10 million. And for us, it might be a small finger. But with exports, you have to gain the confidence of your counterparts and we believe with this initiative, we are going to grow this business to a value that will make reasonable sense to all of us.”

Allan Majuru reminded that “We signed an MOU last year, it’s very pleasing to note that MOU did not get dust in the sub office. It has culminated in what you see today. And that MOU also led and provided a platform for other MoUs that generated business.”

Zephanie Niyonkuru, Deputy Chief Executive Officer

Zephanie Niyonkuru, Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Rwanda Development Board told the participants that “We are back to discuss business. We are back to identify new areas of partnership. We are back to see where we ensure that what we’ve started will keep increasing.”

He noted that “The government of Rwanda works closely with Zimbabwe on a range of opportunities and we want to make sure that we keep increasing the contribution of our members of the private sector and the development of our two nations. We have some investments from Zimbabwe in Rwanda, but since the conference that was held last year, we saw actually additional business getting registered.”

“But the beauty of this is that these businesses have not benefited Rwanda and Zimbabwe only, but they also benefit other countries in the region, be it East Africa, be in southern Africa and beyond.” Mr. Niyonkuru said

“In Rwanda last year, we enacted a new investment code to make sure that we attract more investments in areas related to industrial parks, financial hub startups across different sectors of the economy. And these investments are also expected to have spill over effects across Africa. We had added incentives which would be also helping companies to come set up with their headquarters in Rwanda and be able to serve the region and beyond.

In addition to the companies that came with us to explore business opportunities, and also strengthen what has been going on, we also want to discuss the new areas of investments within the business community of Zimbabwe and we also want to let them know some of the key activities that we have and events so that they can also participates. “He added.

The Rwanda Minister of Trade and Industry Honourable Beata Habyarimana commends the Zimbabwe Trade Promotion Agency and Rwanda development Board for having initiated together this important forum to promote bilateral trade and investment opportunities between the two countries.

She said “This conference is taking place at an opportune moment in the bilateral relationship we are forging between our two nations. Our cooperation has indeed grown exponentially in the last five years, with several agreements signed in various sectors of common interests, such as education, Energy, Agriculture, mineral resources, ICT….”

However, Minister Habyarimana adds “The COVID 19 pandemic had a significant negative impact on our African economies. In addition to lives lost since the beginning of the pandemic in 2020, the current crisis between Russia and Ukraine worsens the situation.”

“If there are two important lessons, the Coronavirus crisis has shown us that it is of vital importance to have a close collaboration among nations in facing global challenges. The second one is the urgency for Africa self-reliance.” She said

“And I’d like to repeat that second one, the urgency of Africa self-reliance. Hence, reinforcing trade and investment ties between countries in our continent is essential. It’s essential to achieving our common objectives of social and economic transformation. With the trade and investment conference that is opening today, Rwanda and Zimbabwe are leading by example.” Minister Habyarimana added

“Since the first trade investment conference last September, five MOUs were signed, companies in various sectors of our two countries engage with one another in order to forge collaboration. This second conference, beginning today offers us the opportunity to take stock of the implementation of the signed MOUs. We’ll assess if joint ventures have happened. We eventually identify bottlenecks and discuss ways to further facilitate investments between the private sector for two countries.”

“It is essential that this conference discussion and deliberation led to concrete actions. We need to fast track business’s growth between Rwanda and Zimbabwe.” Rwanda’s Minister of Trade and Industry said.

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