BELARUSIAN President Alexander Lukashenko is expected in Zimbabwe in December with co-operation between the two countries set to be further deepened in the mining, agriculture and transport sectors.
A visiting Belarus delegation led by the country’s Deputy Prime Minister Piotr Parkhomchik yesterday paid a courtesy call on President Mnangagwa at State House in Harare.
In 2018, President Mnangagwa visited Belarus and signed several agreements many of which have started to bear fruit, particularly in the agriculture and mining sectors.
The Belarusian leader’s impending visit is also a result of President Mnangagwa’s engagement and re-engagement policy which has seen the country opening its doors to all nations, including high-tech countries like Belarus.
In an interview after meeting the President, Mr Parkhomchick outlined the purpose of the high-profile visit.
“We are always strengthening our relations with Zimbabwe and during this visit we discussed trade and economic development. We have increased trade and co-operation between the two countries”.
Trade between the two countries increased 15 times during the past four years as President Mnangagwa’s Zimbabwe is Open for Business policy continues to bear fruit.
Already the visiting Belarusian delegation has held meetings with the ministries of Agriculture, and Foreign Affairs with discussions centred on increasing trade and co-operation for the mutual benefit of the two countries.
“In terms of agriculture we are going into the third phase, the first phase was finalised in 2020 when we supplied 850 different kinds of equipment, which included tractors, combine harvesters, and other farming implements.
“This year we are finalising the second phase, as a result we will supply about 1 500 different kinds of agriculture equipment. We have reached an agreement with the Minister of Agriculture (Dr Anxious Masuku) to continue this co-operation and increase it, we are planning to make it twice more than the second phase,” said Mr Parkhomchick.
He said his country will also supply Zimbabwe with fire tenders that are being manufactured in Belarus and which will improve the country’s capacity to fight fires.
“We are very interested in the tobacco and cotton that you grow in your country, I hope that during the official visit of our President to Zimbabwe agreements to import these will be signed,” Mr Parkhomchick said.
Apart from agriculture, Belarus is set to establish a bus assembly plant in the country that will not only end Zimbabwe’s transport challenges but also earn foreign currency from exports to neighbouring countries.
The Belarusian delegation is also eyeing the country’s mining sector and more deals are expected to be signed when their President visits Zimbabwe in December.