Vice President Naidu, Shakes on Six Deals with Zimbabwe
Vice President Venkaiah Naidu of India, as part of a 3 nation African tour to strengthen ties and form stronger trade relations met Zimbabwe’s President Emmerson Mnangagwa on 3rd November 2018. India and Zimbabwe have enjoyed a healthy relationship since years from a trade point of view to having similar views on a variety of international issues such as UN, NAM, G-15, WTO etc. Mr Naidu made this trade trip accompanied by other prominent officials of the government, making it an extremely high-level Indian delegation in Zimbabwe after 21 years.
Trade relations are being strengthened with a mutual understanding between the two countries of their trade ties not having reached their maximum potential. With this in mind, Mr Naidu asked Zimbabwe to make use of the changing business environment in India, to ride the high tide that India is experiencing in the business sector. Naidu invited Zimbabwe companies to India while making a common like between the two countries; as SME’s sector is the main source of India’s economy, so is Zimbabwe’s. Thus, Zimbabwe can learn from the Indian experience.
Zimbabwe that has been posed heavily with western sanctions, is now aiming to hit a target of a middle-income country by 2030. Economic affairs secretary of the Ministry of External Affairs, TS Tirumurti told the press that for their 2030 goal, Zimbabwe is counting on India for its expertise and investment. Mr Mnangagwe also expressed his gratitude towards India stating, ”for being supportive of Zimbabwe during its period of isolation” and “deeply appreciative of India’s stand that it refused to join others in imposing sanctions on Zimbabwe”.
Though the two discussed varied topics during the meeting from the environment to development to defence to culture and so on. The major highlight of this high-level official meeting being the six agreements that were signed between the two countries. These agreements have been done in the spheres of mining – geology, medicine – health, information technology, broadcasting and visa affairs. In the sphere of mining – geology, Mr Naidu has struck a deal to source diamonds from Zimbabwe directly rather than buying the same diamonds from other markets. Under Medicine – health, Zimbabwe requested India to supply 10 ambulances and “life-saving drugs” on an immediate basis. On a long-term basis, both the heads greatly felt the need to embark on a journey of ‘health cooperation’, where the Indian pharmaceutical companies go and find a market in Zimbabwe. Thus, discussing ways to bring these companies in Zimbabwe. Further, they signed an action plan related to information and communication technology and a MoU was signed between Prasar Bharti and Zimbabwe Broadcasting.
India and Zimbabwe go way back, with Zimbabwe host to around 9 to 10 thousand Indians. Indians have been settling in Zimbabwe since1890 during the apartheid times. After meeting with Mr Mnangagwa, the Vice President also addressed the Indian diaspora settled there urging them not to forget their roots and for them to return, but at the same time, they must respect the rules and culture of the country they are living in.
Tripat Sekhon is a Research Intern at The Kootneeti