Dis­cov­er­ing Each Other

Es­tab­lish­ing the Be­laru­sian-Zim­bab­wean po­lit­i­cal and eco­nomic co­op­er­a­tion was a timely and far-sighted de­ci­sion

Economy of Belarus - - FRONT PAGE -

Be­larus has ac­cred­ited its first ever am­bas­sador to Zim­babwe. This hap­pened in early 2015 and gave a start to the rapid de­vel­op­ment of the po­lit­i­cal and eco­nomic di­a­logue be­tween the two coun­tries. Zim­babwe Pres­i­dent Robert Mu­gabe as­sured Be­laru­sian Am­bas­sador An­drei Molchan dur­ing the cre­den­tials cer­e­mony in Harare that his coun­try is ready to ex­plore and use ef­fi­ciently the ver­sa­tile po­ten­tial of co­op­er­a­tion with the new part­ner in the heart of Europe. All joint projects will be given tar­geted sup­port at the high­est level.

The en­su­ing ex­change of vis­its con­firmed that the po­lit­i­cal and eco­nomic elites of Zim­babwe are com­mit­ted to the de­vel­op­ment of the bi­lat­eral co­op­er­a­tion. Al­ready in June the Hwange col­liery started us­ing 17 heavy-duty trucks pro­duced by OAO BelAZ. New con­tracts worth $100-150 mil­lion are in the pipeline. Zim­babwe plans to spend this money on Be­laru­sian trac­tors, dump trucks and other equip­ment for the min­ing in­dus­try.

Be­laru­sian road, con­struc­tion and agri­cul­tural ma­chin­ery, var­i­ous equip­ment re­ceived high praise from the Zim­bab­wean of­fi­cials who vis­ited Minsk. Ac­cord­ing to the vis­it­ing dig­ni­taries, in Be­larus they saw a pow­er­ful in­dus­trial and min­ing en­gi­neer­ing com­plex which can meet the grow­ing needs of Zim­babwe on many fronts. Zim­bab­wean part­ners would like to give pref­er­ence to the prod­ucts from Be­larus over Western goods for many ob­jec­tive rea­sons.

“We have al­ready seen Be­laru­sian equip­ment in ac­tion. We are sat­is­fied, in­clud­ing with the price and qual­ity ra­tio. I think that Zim­babwe is a very promis­ing mar­ket for Be­laru­sian pro­duc­ers,” said Per­ma­nent Sec­re­tary of the Dis­trict De­vel­op­ment Fund of Zim­babwe James Jonga.

Zim­babwe is en­ter­ing a new era of de­vel­op­ment, grad­u­ally re­cov­er­ing from a decade of a se­vere so­cial and eco­nomic cri­sis. Tough for­eign sanc­tions were the main rea­son be­hind the dif­fi­cult eco­nomic sit­u­a­tion in this coun­try in the south of Africa. Rich in di­a­monds, gold and other in-de­mand re­sources, Zim­babwe was de­prived of the right and pos­si­bil­ity to sell them on for­eign mar­kets.

How­ever, the sit­u­a­tion is start­ing to change for the bet­ter. The Western sanc­tions against this 15-mil­lion-strong coun­try have been re­laxed in the past two or three years. As a re­sult, the Zim­bab­wean econ­omy has been de­mon­strat­ing a no­tice­able re­cov­ery. This year the Euro­pean Union, for the first time in the last 15 years, has ap­proved a € 270 mil­lion tech­ni­cal aid for Zim­babwe. Ac­cord­ing to ex­perts, it is the first step sig­nal­ing that the re­la­tions be­tween Zim­babwe and Europe and the West in gen­eral

will con­tinue nor­mal­iz­ing in the fu­ture.

Apart from that, the Western sanc­tions against Zim­babwe re­stricted the coun­try’s ac­cess to funds and loans of in­ter­na­tional fi­nan­cial in­sti­tu­tions. Any coun­try would find it dif­fi­cult to de­velop un­der such cir­cum­stances. The sit­u­a­tion here has also started rec­ti­fy­ing. The gov­ern­ment of Zim­babwe is cur­rently in talks with a num­ber of Western states to lift the re­stric­tions.

With the fa­vor­able de­vel­op­ments on the im­me­di­ate hori­zon, Zim­babwe may get suf­fi­cient mon­e­tary re­sources to im­port nec­es­sary goods and ser­vices. Con­sid­er­able as­sis­tance has al­ready

Zim­babwe is en­ter­ing a new era of de­vel­op­ment grad­u­ally re­cov­er­ing from a decade of a se­vere so­cial and eco­nomic cri­sis

been pro­vided to Zim­babwe by the African Union, its fi­nan­cial and credit in­sti­tu­tions and funds.

In the con­text of this pos­i­tive news from the south of Africa the es­tab­lish­ment of the Be­laru­sian-Zim­bab­wean po­lit­i­cal and eco­nomic co­op­er­a­tion was not only a timely but also a far-sighted de­ci­sion. Ac­cord­ing to Am­bas­sador Ex­tra­or­di­nary and Plenipo­ten­tiary of Be­larus to South Africa and Zim­babwe (re­sid­ing in South African Pre­to­ria) An­drei Molchan, Harare is keen to ex­pand the range of part­ners who will of­fer high-qual­ity goods and ser­vices, mod­ern tech­nolo­gies to de­velop key sec­tors of the econ­omy with­out any po­lit­i­cal pres­sure.

“The Zim­babwe gov­ern­ment has out­lined a num­ber of short-term de­vel­op­ment pri­or­i­ties. Speak­ing about con­crete in­dus­tries, these, first of all, in­clude the min­ing in­dus­try which re­quires pow­er­ful ad­vanced tech­nolo­gies, equip­ment. They also need knowl­edge and our qual­i­fied spe­cial­ists who can not only ex­plore nat­u­ral de­posits but also show how to ex­tract nat­u­ral re­sources ef­fi­ciently. The Zim­bab­weans un­der­stand that it is im­por­tant not only to ex­tract raw ma­te­ri­als but also to process them in the coun­try to raise their value in for­eign mar­kets. The sec­ond area of fo­cus is agri­cul­ture. Zim­babwe has very good soil and cli­matic con­di­tions for the cul­ti­va­tion of to­bacco, which is con­sid­ered one of the best in Africa, and also cot­ton and trop­i­cal fruits. How­ever, Zim­bab­wean farms are now not very ef­fi­cient due to the lack of mod­ern equip­ment. The third pri­or­ity is ed­u­ca­tion. Zim­babwe boasts one of the high­est lit­er­acy rates in the world. Ac­cord­ing to in­ter­na­tional or­ga­ni­za­tions, 92% of Zim­bab­weans are lit­er­ate. By the way, the lit­er­acy rate in Zim­babwe is even higher than that in South Africa which is one of the most de­vel­oped economies on the African con­ti­nent. The Zim­bab­weans know they will not be able to use all cut­ting-edge tech­nolo­gies and ma­chines with­out knowl­edge and high qual­i­fi­ca­tions. There­fore, they are in­ter­ested in Be­larus’ best prac­tices in the field­spe­cific ed­u­ca­tion, in­clud­ing in agribusi­ness and tech­nol­ogy,” the Be­laru­sian diplo­mat said.

Minsk is ready to start work­ing on ex­pand­ing Be­larus’ eco­nomic pres­ence in Zim­babwe with­out de­lay. There are no ob­sta­cles for all-round co­op­er­a­tion. Dur­ing his meet­ing with Zim­babwe’s Vice Pres­i­dent Em­mer­son Mnan­gagwa, Be­laru­sian Pres­i­dent Alexan­der Lukashenko noted that both sides should start work­ing on a roadmap for the de­vel­op­ment of bi­lat­eral co­op­er­a­tion and dis­cuss set­ting up a large main­te­nance cen­ter for Be­laru­sian pro­duc­ers. This cen­ter will pro­vide ser­vices to sev­eral coun­tries of the re­gion, and Zim­babwe is one of the pos­si­ble lo­ca­tions for it. Be­sides, Alexan­der Lukashenko sug­gested that Be­larus pro­vide train­ing to Zim­bab­wean spe­cial­ists who will work with the Be­larus-made equip­ment.

The im­ple­men­ta­tion of the big plans to de­velop the Be­larusZim­babwe co­op­er­a­tion will be fi­nanced by the De­vel­op­ment Bank of the Re­pub­lic of Be­larus and the PTA Bank, a pan-African fi­nan­cial in­sti­tu­tion pro­vid­ing sub­stan­tial re­sources for ma­chin­ery pur­chases and in­fra­struc­ture projects. The banks and busi­ness­men con­cerned have al­ready es­tab­lished the nec­es­sary con­tacts.

“The African ex­pe­ri­ence shows that to suc­cess­fully en­ter new promis­ing mar­kets, we need to align the in­ter­ests of Be­laru­sian and for­eign busi­ness part­ners, ex­port­ing en­ter­prises, and fi­nan­cial in­sti­tu­tions. And the main thing is to pro­vide po­lit­i­cal sup­port to large-scale projects. If any of these com­po­nents is miss­ing, Be­laru­sian ex­porters will find it dif­fi­cult to set­tle in new mar­kets,” the Am­bas­sador stressed. “We are try­ing to de­velop a mul­ti­fac­eted ap­proach to our trade and eco­nomic co­op­er­a­tion with South Africa, Mozam­bique, Namibia, An­gola, and other African states,” he noted.

The Hwange col­liery uses 17 heavy-duty trucks pro­duced by OAO BelAZ

How­ever, at the cur­rent stage, Be­laru­sian man­u­fac­tur­ers should not get com­pla­cent and naively be­lieve that diplo­mats and bankers will con­tinue do­ing all the work.

To­day it is cru­cial for the mar­ket­ing ser­vices of our flag­ship com­pa­nies to elim­i­nate an ar­ray of chronic de­fi­cien­cies, in­clud­ing the lan­guage bar­rier, to thor­oughly an­a­lyze the rules of the game used by our main com­peti­tors from China, In­dia and Brazil in the south of Africa, and to work smart and show some flex­i­bil­ity. The Chi­nese, In­di­ans and Brazil­ians pro­mot­ing their goods in South­ern Africa of­fer very at­trac­tive in­stall­ment plans and spare no ex­pense on ag­gres­sive pro­mo­tional and mar­ket­ing cam­paigns. It is dif­fi­cult to refuse their of­fers. Nev­er­the­less, now the Be­laru­sians have a unique chance to make great strides in South­ern Africa on the whole and in Zim­babwe in par­tic­u­lar, as Zim­babwe is ready to choose Be­laru­sian goods over oth­ers in many cases. To miss this op­por­tu­nity to­day means to lose

Minsk is ready to start work­ing on ex­pand­ing Be­larus’ eco­nomic pres­ence in Zim­babwe with­out de­lay

Africa, one of the most dy­nam­i­cally de­vel­op­ing re­gions in the world, An­drei Molchan, the head of the Be­laru­sian diplo­matic mis­sion, be­lieves.

Ac­cord­ing to him, this part of the world still knows lit­tle about Be­larus.

“I will give a vivid ex­am­ple: dur­ing their visit to Be­larus spe­cial­ists from Zim­babwe were very im­pressed with the fact that our coun­try man­aged to en­sure al­most ab­so­lute food se­cu­rity, although it is lo­cated in a very tough cli­mate zone. This greatly en­hanced the gen­eral im­age of Be­larus. Zim­babwe part­ners are ready to learn more about our com­pet­i­tive ad­van­tages. They are open for Be­larus and clearly in­ter­ested in ac­tively im­ple­ment­ing joint projects. All in all, now is the time for all Be­laru­sian stake­hold­ers to set to work with zeal. Zim­babwe is very promis­ing for Be­larus,” the Am­bas­sador said.

By the way, ac­cord­ing to An­drei Molchan, Be­larus and Zim­babwe res­i­dents should take a closer look at tourism op­por­tu­ni­ties of the two coun­tries that have so strik­ingly dif­fer­ent but no less at­trac­tive land­scapes and gifts of the na­ture.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Belarus

© PressReader. All rights reserved.