Takunda Maodza in ABU DHABI, UAE
President Mnangagwa arrived here yesterday for talks with Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Sultan Al Nahyan aimed at striking strategic and mutually beneficial relations.
The President is accompanied by Finance and Economic Development Minister Professor Mthuli Ncube, Foreign Affairs and International Trade Minister Dr Sibusiso Moyo and Mines and Mining Development Minister Winston Chitando, Deputy Chief Secretary (Communications) and Presidential spokesperson Mr George Charamba and other Government officials.
Minister Moyo yesterday described President Mnangagwa’s visit to the UAE as ‘very important’.
‘‘This is a very important visit by His Excellency on the invitation of his counterpart, the Crown Prince, and it is an invitation which is creating a symbiotic relationship and strategic partnership between the Emirates and Zimbabwe,’’ said Dr Moyo.
“We are going to be discussing different aspects, both the political and diplomatic, and including the various economic areas which are beneficial to both countries. It would be two days of hectic discussions and it will be two days of issues which are going to be decision-oriented and which are going to be implemented without delay,’’ he said.
President Mnangagwa is today expected to visit Dubai, which is about 140km from Abu Dhabi.
‘’As you are aware, here in Abu Dhabi is where the Crown Prince is, who is the President and Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, but the Prime Minister is based in Dubai and therefore, as His Excellency travels to Dubai, he is going to be meeting the Prime Minister. This is going to be a clear-cut area of collaboration.
“Already, His Excellency has accepted the deployment of a nominee of the Emirates as an ambassador to Zimbabwe and you may be aware that His Excellency has approved the deployment of somebody as an ambassador to the Abu Dhabi and to the Emirates,’’ he said.
Minister Moyo said the opening of an embassy in the UAE is strategic.
‘’It is strategic because it provides other options of survival for Zimbabwe. As you are aware, Zimbabwe is under sanctions and therefore, as we cooperate with the Emirates, this is going to be the basis of this pursuit. This country is a very rich country as you aware. This is a country which is dependent on oil and gas. It has got quite an excess (of resources) and it is also controlling the global market alternative settlement payment systems, which could be used by Zimbabwe. They are looking at Southern Africa and they are looking at one of the strategic emerging markets, which they have identified, and that in Southern Africa, being Zimbabwe, and that is why His Excellency is here,’’ explained Minister Moyo.
The UAE is a major producer of fuel and gas and intends to establish a fuel hub in Southern Africa.
Geographically, Zimbabwe is the heart of the Sadc and a gateway to other regions on the African continent.
The country also has plans to construct a second fuel pipeline from Beira to Harare for easy movement of the commodity.
Furthermore, the UAE is a major buyer of Zimbabwe’s gold.