HARARE – President Emmerson Mnangagwa embarks on his 36th foreign trip just 20 months after coming into power on Thursday – all performed on private jets hired from Dubai.
A luxuriously-fitted Dubai jet has practically stationed in Zimbabwe for almost a month, taking the 76-year-old on domestic, regional and continental flights while impoverished Zimbabweans grapple with a failing economy.
Mnangagwa has most recently used the US$12,000-per-hour Boeing 737 for flights to Victoria Falls, Bulawayo, Mozambique, Zambia and Rwanda.
State media reported on Friday that Mnangagwa would be flying to Niger for an African Union summit on the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCTFA).
Justifying the latest trip, his spokesman George Charamba said: “What we are doing is to celebrate the coming into force of the continental free trade area. There is a benchmark number of countries which have ratified the treaty for it to come into force at the end of May.
“Zimbabwe qualifies as a founder member of Continental Free Trade Area and that comes after a certain recognition and with some privileges, that’s why we’re going to Niger.”
Zimbabwe is in the grips of its worst economic crisis in over a decade, marked by a shortage of United States dollars to fund fuel, wheat, and electricity imports. With inflation now nearly 100 percent, the broke country has also stopped issuing passports and vehicle number plates.
Mnangagwa’s Foreign Trips Since Taking Power in 2017 (Source: ZimLive)
- December 2017: Pretoria, South Africa
- January 2018: Davos, Switzerland
- January 2018: Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
- January 2018: Luanda, Angola
- January 2018: Lusaka, Zambia
- January 2018: Windhoek, Namibia
- January 2018: Maputo, Mozambique
- February 2018: Gaborone, Botswana
- March 2018: Gaborone, Botswana
- March 2018: Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo
- March 2018: Kigali, Rwanda
- April 2018: Beijing, China
- May 2018: Doha, Qatar
- June 2018: Nouakchott, Mauritania
- June 2018: Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
- July 2018: Johannesburg, South Africa
- August 2018: Windhoek, Namibia
- September 2018: Beijing, China
- September 2018: New York, United States
- October 2018: Lusaka, Zambia
- November 2018: Conakry, Guinea
- November 2018: Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
- January 2019: Moscow, Russia
- January 2019: Minsk, Belarus
- January 2019: Baku, Azerbaijan
- January 2019: Astana, Kazakhstan
- February 2019: Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
- March 2019: Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
- March 2019: Luanda, Angola
- March 2019: Pretoria, South Africa
- May 2019: Pretoria, South Africa
- May 2019: Kasane, Botswana
- June 2019: Lusaka, Zambia
- June 2019: Maputo, Mozambique
- July 2019: Kigali, Rwanda
- July 2019: Niamey, Niger