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Mnangagwa in Botswana for US-Africa Business Summit

by Staff reporter
11 Jul 2023 at 23:18hrs | Views
PRESIDENT Mnangagwa arrived here yesterday evening to attend the high-level US-Africa Business Summit in which Zimbabwe will seek to assert its drive to lure investments to shore up domestic production and trade synergies with the global community, including the United States.

Riding on the Second Republic's international engagement and re-engagement policy, Zimbabwe is focused on leveraging its vast natural resources by harnessing opportunities and strategic partnerships to ensure maximum benefits to its citizens in line with the national development targets.

President Mnangagwa joins fellow Heads of State at the Summit that kicked off yesterday morning bringing together more than 1 000 participants at the continent's largest annual gathering of US and African leaders, senior government officials, private sector executives, international investors, and multilateral stakeholders.

Running under the theme "Enhancing Africa's Value in Global Value Chains," the summit will comprise a line-up of more than 100 speakers, among them business and government leaders, providing insights on emerging opportunities for US-Africa trade, investment and commercial engagement, and priority action areas for collaboration in key growth sectors of agribusiness, finance, energy, health, infrastructure, ICT and creative industries.
Highlights include Presidential dialogues, invitation-only roundtables, and closed-door pitch sessions for institutional investors.

President Mnangagwa, who was accompanied by Finance and Economic Development Minister Professor Mthuli Ncube and Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development Minister, Dr Anxious Masuka, was welcomed at the Sir Seretse Khama International Airport by Botswana Defence Minister Kagiso Mmusi, Zimbabwean Ambassador to Botswana Batiraishe Mukonoweshuro, Industry and Commerce Minister Dr Sekai Nzenza and senior Government officials.

Speaking to the media here, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Industry and Commerce Dr Mavis Sibanda said the country is looking at prospects for the country working with American and African companies on global value chains.

Particularly, Dr Sibanda said the country has prioritised ten value chains that it is seeking partnerships.

Under the National Development Strategy 1 (NDS1) the government has prioritised 10 value chains which are dairy, sugar, bus and truck, fertiliser, plastic waste, pharmaceutical, clothing, leather, soya, and steel value chains.

"Zimbabwe has a lot of natural resources, we have, for example, an abundance of lithium and we are looking for people or companies that can come to Zimbabwe to produce and develop various products out of lithium and all other minerals.

"We are also an agricultural based country, there are a lot of products which we think we can work with not only with America because the people who are coming here are not only Americans but African countries, we are looking at expanding our industry to ensure that we grow those natural resources which we have to better products so that at the end of the day, can export value-added products. So, we are looking for partners who can work with us as Zimbabwe," said Dr Sibanda.

"We have got agriculture, we have mining and we also are looking at the energy sector. We are looking for whoever partner can come in and work with us in all these various sectors."

Added Dr Sibanda: We are looking for people to come who can help us in the cotton industry. Zimbabwe has some of the best cotton products in the world, we are looking at companies that can come and do the value addition on the cotton so that we eventually come up with a beautiful cloth which we can have in the market. We are looking at cotton in the clothing value chain.

"We have so many minerals in Zimbabwe, we are walking on them. We are mining some and we are saying those which we are mining, why can't we have people coming and work with us.

"Even on energy, we have an abundance of the sun, we are looking at the people who can come and work with us so that we up where we are to higher levels."

Turning to Africa, Dr Sibanda said the continent can emerge as a trade giant if nations work together riding on their different competitive advantages.

"Africa has the biggest resources in the world but what we don't have is the (spirit of) working together as African countries to ensure that even trading as African countries. We trade more with outsiders than among ourselves so we need to improve the quality of products we are making so that they are acceptable among ourselves because we usually look down on the products from other countries within Africa," she said.

"Africa will be a giant if we work together. There are opportunities for us to work together. As you know, we have Africa Continental Free Trade Area that encourages trading among ourselves and we can only trade what we are producing. So, we need to industrialise and improve the quality of the products that we produce and upgrade the equipment we use to make our products."

Zimbabwe was last year, for the first time since its establishment in 2014, invited to the US-Africa Leaders' Summit, signaling a change of heart by Western countries, including the US, towards the country, thanks to the Second Republic's engagement and re-engagement drive.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Dr Frederick Shava, attended the Summit last December in Washington DC.

Source - The Chronicle