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Mnangagwa to Hold Talks with Putin in Russia

Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, and the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe, Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa, pose for a photo on the sideline of the Russia Africa Summit in St. Petersburg, Russia, Thursday, July 27, 2023. (Mikhail Metzel/TASS Host Photo Agency Pool Photo via AP)
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St. Petersburg, Russia – Russian President Vladimir Putin is scheduled to meet with Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa on June 6, on the sidelines of the 27th St Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF).

This high-profile discussion underscores the growing relationship between Russia and Zimbabwe, highlighting their mutual interest in enhancing bilateral cooperation across various sectors.

Strengthening Bilateral Ties

The upcoming talks between Presidents Putin and Mnangagwa are expected to focus on strengthening Russian-Zimbabwean relations. Both leaders are keen to explore new avenues for collaboration, particularly in the fields of trade, investment, mining, and agriculture. Russia, with its vast technological expertise, and Zimbabwe, rich in natural resources, see significant potential for mutually beneficial partnerships.

“The meeting between President Putin and President Mnangagwa is a significant step towards deepening the strategic partnership between our nations,” said Sergei Lavrov, Russia’s Foreign Minister. “We anticipate discussions will pave the way for enhanced economic cooperation and increased trade between Russia and Zimbabwe.”

Cooperative Foreign Policy

In addition to economic issues, the two presidents are set to discuss cooperation in foreign policy. Both Russia and Zimbabwe have shown a strong inclination towards a multipolar world order, opposing unilateralism and advocating for the sovereignty of nations in international relations.

“Zimbabwe values its relationship with Russia and sees it as a vital partnership in our foreign policy framework,” noted Zimbabwe’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Frederick Shava. “We look forward to President Mnangagwa’s discussions with President Putin, which we believe will strengthen our joint efforts in promoting global peace and stability.”

Mnangagwa’s Role at the SPIEF Plenary Session

On June 7, President Mnangagwa will take part in the plenary session of the St Petersburg International Economic Forum. His participation underscores Zimbabwe’s commitment to engaging with the global economic community and highlights the importance of the SPIEF as a platform for international dialogue on economic issues.

The plenary session will feature key global leaders and business executives, addressing critical issues such as global economic recovery, sustainable development, and technological innovation. President Mnangagwa is expected to deliver a speech emphasizing Zimbabwe’s economic potential and the opportunities for investment in the country.

“President Mnangagwa’s participation in the SPIEF plenary session is a testament to Zimbabwe’s openness to international cooperation and its proactive approach to attracting foreign investment,” said George Guvamatanga, Zimbabwe’s Secretary for Finance and Economic Development. “We are optimistic that this engagement will yield positive outcomes for our economy.”

Historical Context of Russian-Zimbabwean Relations

Russia and Zimbabwe share a history of solidarity dating back to Zimbabwe’s struggle for independence. Over the years, this relationship has evolved, with Russia providing support in various forms, including military training and economic assistance. The upcoming talks are expected to build on this historical foundation, fostering a more robust and dynamic partnership.

In recent years, there have been several high-level visits and agreements between the two countries. Notably, in 2019, Russia and Zimbabwe signed several bilateral agreements during the Russia-Africa Summit in Sochi, aimed at boosting cooperation in mining, energy, and agriculture.

Economic Potential and Future Prospects

Zimbabwe, with its abundant mineral resources, fertile agricultural land, and a strategic location in Southern Africa, presents numerous opportunities for Russian investors. The country is actively seeking foreign investment to revitalize its economy and develop its infrastructure. Russian companies, particularly in the mining and energy sectors, have expressed interest in exploring these opportunities.

“We see great potential in expanding our economic ties with Zimbabwe,” said Alexei Miller, CEO of Gazprom. “The country’s natural resources and our technological capabilities create a perfect synergy for future projects.”

Similarly, Zimbabwean companies are keen to explore the Russian market, which offers vast opportunities for trade and investment. The SPIEF provides a platform for these companies to showcase their potential and attract Russian partners.

The meeting between President Vladimir Putin and President Emmerson Mnangagwa at the St Petersburg International Economic Forum marks a significant milestone in Russian-Zimbabwean relations. It reflects the commitment of both nations to fostering stronger ties and exploring new avenues for cooperation. As the two leaders engage in discussions, the world will be watching closely, anticipating the outcomes of this high-stakes diplomatic engagement.

President Mnangagwa’s participation in the SPIEF plenary session further highlights Zimbabwe’s strategic approach to international economic engagement, promising a future of increased collaboration and mutual growth for both Russia and Zimbabwe.