President Emmerson Mnangagwa has met with his Swiss counterpart President Alain Berset in Davos, and the two leaders shared perspectives on economic and political issues of mutual interest.
The Swiss President assured President Mnangagwa that developments that took place in Zimbabwe and the new government’s approach has brought a positive disposition to the EU and Zimbabwe relations.
Relations between Switzerland and Zimbabwe centre on development co-operation and humanitarian aid but talks held by countries’ two leaders this Thursday are anticipated to usher in a new relationship.
President Mnangagwa, who was accompanied by Foreign Affairs and International Trade Minister Retired Lieutenant General Dr Sibusiso Moyo and Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Information, Media and Broadcasting Services Mr George Charamba met President Berset at his Davos offices.
According to Mr Charamba, the two leaders had fruitful discussions that focused on political and economic issues.
President Mnangagwa briefed President Berset on the smooth transition that led to his ascension in November last year.
The Zimbabwean leader, who is in Davos attending the World Economic Forum, explained to his counterpart his government’s new policy thrust.
He told President Berset that the Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Act has been amended to reflect the new government’s policy position.
President Mnangagwa meets Nestle rep
On Wednesday a representative from global food and beverage manufacturer, Nestle, held a meeting with President Mnangagwa and when the two leaders met this Thursday they also discussed how Zimbabwe can become a distribution hub of Nestle products.
In the past six years, Nestle Zimbabwe has invested close to US$30 million in the refurbishment and upgrading of its cereals and milo plants and equipment to increase production levels.
The President speaks on Zim’s potential
Unlocking the full potential of Zimbabwe’s resources and increasing of exports are critical to economic recovery and according to Cde Charamba, President Mnangagwa explained efforts that the country is making to ensure it embarks on value addition on agriculture products, especially cotton and soya beans. Currently, Zimbabwe is a primary exporter of raw minerals and a net importer of several critical consumables including food and President Mnangagwa told his counterpart that assistance in this area would be welcome.
The greatest potential for Zimbabwe to attract foreign investment lies in mineral resources.
The country has the world’s second largest platinum reserves after South Africa, and a host of other minerals like diamonds, coal, nickel and chrome and President Mnangagwa explained the minerals that are open to foreign investors.
President Mnangagwa explained various legislation measures that Zimbabwe is taking to discard the investor hostile tag and become an investor friendly country.
“The President assured the Swiss leader that Zimbabwe will keep dialogue lines open with investors in case there are other grey areas that maybe of concern to investors,” said Mr Charamba.
President Berset assured President Mnangagwa that because of developments that have taken place in Zimbabwe his country is willing to engage and support the Zimbabwean government.
President Berset said he is aware that former President Robert Mugabe, his wife, service chiefs and the Zimbabwe Defence Industries are still on sanctions but he assured his Zimbabwean counterpart that the sanctions will be reviewed periodically.
President Mnangagwa’s meeting with President Berset is expected to see the volume of trade between Switzerland and Zimbabwe improving.
The European Union country imports agricultural products from Zimbabwe and exports machines and pharmaceutical products to Zimbabwe but trade between the two countries is generally low despite a bilateral investment protection agreement that was signed between Switzerland and Zimbabwe in 2001.
President Mnangagwa meets ADB president
President Mnangagwa also had time to meet the president of the African Development Bank Dr Akinwumi Adesina in Davos where they discussed issues to do with support for infrastructural development in Zimbabwe, with the ADB rep pledging the bank’s continued support to Zimbabwe.