India urged to scale up trade with Zimbabwe
THE Deputy Minister of Industry and Commerce, Cde Raj Modi, has called on Indian private and public businesses to scale up trade with their counterparts in Zimbabwe.
Addressing delegates at the second edition of the India Gold and Jewellery (GJEPC India) Summit being held in New Delhi yesterday, Cde Modi, who is the guest of honour, said despite the fact that India and Zimbabwe enjoy strong cordial relations that date back to the era of the Munhumutapa Kingdom, it was disheartening to note that trade between the two countries was low.
Notables at the summit which ends today include the chairperson of GJPEC India Mr Pramod Kumar Agrawal, the Indian Minister of Commerce and Industry Mr Suresh Prabhu, World Gold Council CEO Aram Shishmanian and Zimbabwean Ambassador to India Maxwell Ranga.
Cde Modi said: “I have no doubt that this summit will provide a solid platform for investment and trade cooperation between Zimbabwe and India in the sector.
“Total trade between Zimbabwe and India is still low, averaging US$166 million between the period 2015 and 2016 down from US$234 million in 2014-15. The bilateral trade has been in favour of India over the years. Minerals, precious metals and stones such as gold have been among Zimbabwe’s major exports to India.
“Zimbabwe’s major imports from India have included pharmaceuticals, base metals, chemicals, machinery and equipment, electrical components such as transformers, calibrating meters, and electric conductors. Notably, Indian companies continue to maintain their presence in Zimbabwe mainly in the food and beverages, pharmaceuticals and agro-processing industries.
“There are over 25 major companies owned by Indians and Zimbabweans of Indian origin in Zimbabwe.
“Against this background, potential remains under-exploited on economic cooperation between Zimbabwe and India. The need to continuously facilitate private sector business engagements cannot be over-emphasised, especially in the value addition and beneficiation of gold, diamond, platinum and other minerals.”
Cde Modi reiterated that Zimbabwe was open for business adding that Indian businesses at every level were welcome to partner with their counterparts.
“Zimbabwe has plenty of business opportunities, not only in the gold and jewellery sector, but also in other sectors which include agriculture and agro-processing, infrastructure development, energy and power generation, information and communication technologies, health and pharmaceuticals, among other areas. I therefore, want to implore you to come and explore various investment opportunities in these sectors.
“For Zimbabwe, business synergies are quite critical for the attainment of Vision 2030 agenda towards a middle income country as pronounced in the new Transitional Stabilisation Programme (TSP). Business forums such as this are one way of facilitating business engagements. The onus is actually upon the private sectors of our two countries to complement the efforts of the two Governments in boosting trade and investment cooperation,” he said.
The Bulawayo South Constituency Member of the National Assembly told dignitaries at the summit organised by the Gem and Jewellery Export Promotion Council of India that Zimbabwe was looking for international investors to help add value to its precious metals.
“I want to recognise the business delegation from Zimbabwe who have accompanied me to this summit, they have come to explore business opportunities with their Indian counterparts in the jewellery industry.
“It is appreciated that, with support from the Government of India, Zimbabwe has immensely built the human skill base in the diamond cutting and polishing and capacities have been developed in various areas.
“The Government wishes to leverage on this development and enhance investment and trade partnerships in this area to promote value addition of precious metals,” said Cde Modi.
MSU Chancellor President Mnangagwa congratulates Tecklah Usai who graduated with a Doctor of Philosophy degree in Nutrition at the MSU graduation ceremony in Gweru yesterday.— (Picture by Eliah Saushoma)
Cde Raj Modi