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Mnangagwa to attend high level US-Africa Business Summit

by Staff reporter
11 Jul 2023 at 07:38hrs | Views
PRESIDENT Mnangagwa is expected to leave the country this afternoon to join fellow African Heads of State at the high-level 15th US-Africa Business Summit that kicks off at the Royal Aria Convention Centre here today.

More than 1000 participants will take part at the continent's largest annual gathering of US and African leaders and 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.

At the summit, the President joins his Botswana counterpart President Mokgweesi Masisi, whose country is co-hosting the summit with the Corporate Council on Africa (CCA), and fellow African heads of State including Presidents Filipe Nyusi of Mozambique, Hage Geingob of Namibia Hakainde Hichilema of Zambia, Mohamed Bazoum of Niger.

The Prime Minister of Lesotho Samuel Matekane and the Eswatini Prime Minister Cleopas Dlamini will also take part at the summit.

Zimbabwe was last year, for the first time since its establishment in 2014, invited to the US-Africa Leaders Summit, signalling 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.

Speaking to the media here, Zimbabwe's top envoy to the US, Ambassador Tadeous Chifamba said the President's attendance at the summit points to the improvement of relations between Zimbabwe and the US.

"The attendance by the President is again further testimony of his desire to re-engage and to demonstrate that Zimbabwe is ready to welcome American investors just as we have welcomed John Deere and so many other investors in the past and this is a demonstration that Zimbabwe is open for business and that he is prepared to go the extra mile to demonstrate Zimbabwe's readiness for re-engagement," he said.

"Mind you, our approach as Zimbabwe is not to say we are going to the world with a begging bowl. We are saying to the world that we have a lot that it takes for mutually beneficial partnerships and cooperation.

"We have the human resource base, the natural resource base, and our country is already showing positive signs in terms of attracting huge investments in iron and steel, platinum and so many other industries. So, we are ready to engage on the basis of mutually beneficial partnerships."

Ambassador Chifamba said following the leaders' summit in December last year, relations have continued to warm up with a lot of interest in green energy minerals like lithium. The top envoy said an MoU will be signed on the sidelines of the summit that will see the creation of a biotechnology city in the Eastern Highlands bringing 20 US companies into the project.

"We have been in active contact with the US State Department and we have quite a number of useful interactions in terms of looking at our relationship but also most importantly we have focused our attention on engaging the different states in the United States," he said. "In the first quarter, we were focusing our attention on Atlanta and we made a lot of useful contacts with the Mayor, and business community of Atlanta and our own diasporans."

Today, proceedings kick off with a golf tournament before a welcome reception in the evening hosted by President Masisi and CCA.

In a recent statement, CCA said, "The four days offer a premier platform for interacting with high-level government officials and business leaders from countries across the African continent with some of the most promising markets for investments and learning about business opportunities, continental and national policies, and success stories.

"The US-Africa Business Summit builds upon the positive momentum created by the US-Africa Leaders Summit and Business Forum held in Washington D.C. in December 2022 during, which President Joseph R Biden announced more than US$15 billion in two-way trade and investment commitments, deals, and partnerships.

"Indeed, the conference in Botswana will provide a progress report and latest developments arising from the Leaders Summit, as well as the announcement of new deals and financing by institutional investors, U.S. and African financial institutions and others"

CCA chief executive officer Florizelle Liser said the packed programme for this year's summits reflects her organisation's commitment to, "be a nexus for business and investment between the United States and the nations of Africa.

"We have a host country in Botswana that provides a model for African success, multiple African heads of state and government who value the importance of enhancing economic collaboration with the US, a US government using an  array of programs and tools to fully engage with the continent, and a contingent of American investors ready to deploy capital across multiple sectors."

Meanwhile, the President is set to return home tomorrow.

Source - The Chroncile
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