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Growing role of Zimbabwe's Embassy in China

13 Jan 2019 at 07:58hrs | Views
ZIMBABWE and China have excellent relations that date back to the pre-independence era. During the visit by His Excellency, President ED Mnangagwa, in April 2018, relations were elevated to the highest level of Comprehensive Strategic Partnership of Cooperation.

The role of the Embassy is to deepen and strengthen these relations at the political, economic, scientific, educational, and cultural levels, as well as to foster stronger people-to-people relations.

The following are some of the activities carried out by the Embassy:

l Promotion of Zimbabwe as an investment destination: making presentations at investment forums; holding meetings with Chinese companies that have an interest in investing in Zimbabwe; linking these companies with relevant authorities in Zimbabwe and sometimes arranging their programmes and itineraries (in some cases, the Ambassador and /or an officer would accompany the delegations to Zimbabwe); responding to inquiries and to clarify policy positions.

l Trade Promotion: attend trade fairs and encourage Zimbabwean companies and organisations to participate where possible; attend trade-related conferences, seminars and make presentations where possible, as well as explore market-penetration opportunities for Zimbabwean products.

l Tourism promotion: attend tourism-promotion events, exhibit and make presentations where possible; encourage Zimbabwean organisations such as ZTA to participate in those events that would provide them with a wide platform to sell the country as a tourist destination.

The rise of China to be the second-largest economy in the world attracts people seeking greener pastures. For the embassy, this translates to an increase in consular work since one of the key result areas of embassies is, "To promote and protect the safety of Zimbabwean nationals abroad".

In this regard, on a day-to-day basis, the Embassy handles the following consular issues:

l Processing passport applications for expired and lost passports as well as birth certificates; issuance of Temporary Travel Documents; facilitating repatriation of remains of deceased nationals, assistance to students with expired visas – making written appeals to Immigration Offices; appealing to universities to extend visas to students after they default in paying tuition fees; mostly due to challenges faced by parents in remitting the fees and the low daily withdrawal limits; Consular visits to nationals in prison.

These include those arrested for drug trafficking (mules used to bring cocaine, heroin and other drugs), possession or use of drugs, theft, violence, working illegally without a permit, overstaying etcetera.

China has stringent immigration regulations. The following information is critical: visas cannot be exchanged; that is, if one has a student visa, they cannot work, if they do so and get caught, it will result in outright deportation.

Also Zimbabweans should be wary of people who promise to get them jobs illegally, as many people have fallen prey to human traffickers who will disappear and leave them stranded.

Mr Chikawa is Zimbabwe's Ambassador to China. He was responding to questions from Fatima Bulla.

Source - zimpapers
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