PRESIDENT Mnangagwa arrived here yesterday to attend the Saudi Arabia-Africa summit where he will engage an array of investors from the oil-rich country as well as have a one on one meeting with Saudi ruler, King Salman bin Adulazizi, as part of his bilateral engagements.
Last month, a high-powered delegation from Saudi Arabia led by special envoy Mr Adel Ahmed al Jubeir met President Mnangagwa at State House in Harare where several bilateral issues were discussed including the forthcoming Arab-Africa Summit.
The President’s visit comes at a time when the two countries have agreed to open embassies in their respective capitals, Harare and Riyadh, deepen economic trade and enhance cooperation in key sectors of agriculture and the manufacturing industry.
Foreign Affairs and International Trade Minister Ambassador Frederick Shava said the President’s visit to Saudi Arabia is critical as it will enable investors from the oil-rich country to explore vast investment opportunities in Zimbabwe.
“We are trying to attract the Saudis to cooperate with us in business, we are going to identify areas of mutual interest. They particularly have interests in mining, they have interests in ICT, they have interests in agriculture and this is what we are going to be pursuing and trying to attract the Saudis to cooperate with us in business,” said Ambassador Shava.
He said the country’s economic diplomatic offensive has yielded results and gave the example of the United Arab Emirates where Zimbabwe participated in the Dubai Expo leading to increased trade.
Saudi Arabia is the world’s third largest oil producer and largest oil exporter, controlling the world’s biggest oil reserves. The Kingdom is categorised as a high income economy by the World Bank and is the only Arab country to be part of the G20 major economies. It’s economy is the largest in the Middle East.
Under President Mnangagwa’s Engagement and Re-engament pillar foreign policy, Zimbabwe has opened new diplomatic frontiers across the world with particular bias on economic cooperation.
This is in tandem with the President’s mantra that Zimbabwe is open for business, a thrust that has led to increased foreign direct investments from new markets such as the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
Although Zimbabwe and Saudi Arabia currently do not have directly corresponding consulates, that is soon to change with plans from both countries at advanced stages to set up embassies.The President, whose focus is on economic development towards an upper middle class status by 2030, is accompanied by the Minister of Finance, Economic Development and Investment Promotion, Professor Mthuli Ncube, Foreign Affairs and International Trade Minister Ambassador Shava, Minister of Industry and Commerce Sithembiso Nyoni, Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development Minister Dr Anxious Masuka, the Deputy Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet Mr George Charamba and senior Government officials.