President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who left Harare this afternoon, is in Johannesburg, South Africa where he will attend tomorrow’s BRICS Africa outreach programme which seeks to foster inclusive growth among the world’s five major emerging economies and Africa.
President Mnangagwa was welcomed at the Waterkloof Airbase Airport by South Africa’s Deputy Minister of Defence and Military Veterans, Mr Kebby maphatsoe.
His visit comes as the government of Zimbabwe is forging ahead with plans to transform the economy and turn the country into a middle income country by 2030.
President Mnangagwa has pointed out several times that modern infrastructure is a key enabler of industrialisation, economic growth and human development.
The President, who is in the midst of his election campaigns ahead of Monday’s polls, is attending a meeting that is in line with his vision, one where industrialisation and infrastructure development are crucial to a country’s status.
BRICS is a grouping of the emerging economies of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, and the southern African country is hosting the 10th BRICS Summit.
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has extended special invitations to other African leaders, whose countries are not part of BRICS and his gesture has been commended as it paves way for an inclusive pan-African investment.
Other African leaders attending the BRICS outreach programme this Friday include President Paul Kagame of Rwanda, President Joao Lourenco of Angola and President Macky Sall of Senegal.
African Union (AU) Commission Chairperson, Mr Moussa Mahamat is also attending the summit.
In an interview, Foreign Affairs and International Trade Minister, Retired Lieutenant General Sibusiso Moyo said President Mnangagwa will be attending the crucial meeting as it talks to the need to strengthen the relationship between BRICS and Africa.
The summit is being held under the theme: ‘BRICS in Africa: Collaboration for Inclusive Growth and Shared Prosperity in the Fourth Industrial Revolution.’
The theme dovetails with the government’s economic thrust to prioritise industrialisation and modernisation as key aspects to sustainable economic growth.
At the summit, BRICS leaders are expected to share with leaders from the region on how they can cooperate to bring inclusive growth.
Leaders from the BRICS countries who are attending the summit include President Xi Jinping of China, President Vladimir Putin of Russia, Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India and President Michel Temer of Brazil.
Zimbabwe is looking to attract investment in various sectors ranging from mining, tourism, roads infrastructure, agriculture to energy, and the platform provides an opportunity for the country to market itself.
BRICS countries have pledged to support African industrialisation and infrastructure development and countries like China are already supporting infrastructure projects in Zimbabwe such as constructing the new parliament building and expanding the Robert Mugabe International Airport.
The 10th BRICS summit is expected to adopt the Johannesburg Declaration, which will include the proposal to establish a working group on peacekeeping, establish a vaccine research centre for collaboration with BRICS vaccine innovation and development partners, establishment of a BRICS gender and women’s forum, intended as a dedicated track for gender and women’s issues, given the economic benefits to be derived from the socio-economic empowerment of women, particularly in developing countries.
On the sidelines of the summit, President Mnangagwa is scheduled to hold a bilateral meeting with his South African counterpart, President Ramaphosa this evening and with Russian President Putin tomorrow.
He is accompanied by Minister Moyo and the Permanent Secretary for Information, Media and Broadcasting Services, Mr George Charamba and was seen off at the Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport by service chiefs and the Minister of State for Harare Provincial Affairs, Cde Mirriam Chikukwa.