Big cars for definitely big deals

The delegation of the Republic of Zimbabwe has visited Minsk

The principle of multi sector investment, underlying the Belarusian foreign policy, is largely due to the need to diversify markets for domestic products. The African continent offers huge potential for this. In recent years, for various reasons, Africa has faded into the background for diplomats and industrialists, yet many African states are in need of Belarusian products. Alexander Lukashenko, talking to the Vice President, Minister of Justice and Parliamentary Co-operation of the Republic of Zimbabwe, Emmerson Mnangagwa, said that this visit could open a new chapter in bilateral relations. Thanks to co-operation with Zimbabwe, we can reach a closer understanding with other countries in the region.

Emmerson MnangagwaThere are many elements of Belarus that are novel to African guests: the nature, cuisine and well-developed infrastructure. But what they didn’t have to get used to is the July climate. July is the coldest month in Zimbabwe; the temperature there at this time is about the same as ours. Acclimatisation was not a problem for the delegation. There is hope that there will be no obstacles to co-operation in the trade and economic sectors. The flagships of our domestic industry (MAZ, MTZ, BelAZ, BMZ) have worked for the Zimbabwean market for a while now and even managed to sign some contracts. In truth however, their implementation leaves much to be desired. In recent years, the country has experienced a severe financial crisis. Inflation has reached a truly cosmic scale. This summer, one US Dollar was equivalent to 250 trillion Zimbabwean Dollars. But this is, presumably, a temporary difficulty. Zimbabwe has an abundance of natural wealth with commercial production of iron, coal, gold, silver, nickel, platinum and diamonds. Alexander Lukashenko has offered to begin a programme of interaction, “I think that we should start with a few specific projects. It will be a message to entrepreneurs not only from your country but also other countries, with which you share a border.”

Zimbabwe has relied on the development of the mining industry and the construction of its social and economic infrastructure. In this respect, they are interested in our experiences. The Zimbabweans are keen to purchase dumper trucks, as well as road and construction equipment. Only the question of maintenance and servicing of the vehicles is an issue for them. Mr. Lukashenko suggested we should study the possibility of establishing a single powerful service centre in the region for all Belarusian equipment.

Emmerson Mnangagwa personally made sure of the quality of our products by driving one of the vehicles at BelAZ. He declared that he is probably the only man in Africa who is lucky enough to have been on such a heavy truck.

In Zimbabwe they have undertaken the mechanisation of agriculture. The country grows a lot of quality cotton, tea and tobacco, one of the best on the continent. Local farmers will certainly like Belarusian tractors. African banks and the Bank of Development of Belarus are potential sources of financing for the purchases.

By Vladimir Khromov
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