The Russian Federation and Zimbabwe enjoy excellent bilateral relations, with marked cooperation in the mining, education, trade and tourism sectors. The President had talks with his counterpart at the Kremlin that led to the signing of 9 Memoranda of Understanding (MOU) and Agreements in agriculture, fertiliser supply, platinum mining, diamond mining, education, trade and investments, infrastructure development and rail transport.
The MOUs and Agreements were signed by Ministers, Perence Shiri, Muthuli Ncube and Winston Chitando in the presence of the two leaders Cde. Emmerson Mnangagwa and Vadimir Putin and the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation Sergeyi Lavrov and other Ministers.
The meeting at the Kremlin saw economic ties between the two countries being further enhanced with a number of measures that included a financial package to assist Zimbabwe settle and restructure its international debt and fund new projects.
The two Presidents stressed the need to ensure that deals brokered see the light of day like in the past.
It was also agreed in Moscow that a package of US$267 million be extended to Great Dyke Investments (GDI) to promptly start production at the project in Darwendale. The funding will be provided through the Russian Federation’s shareholding in the African Finance Corporation and Afreximbank.
It was also revealed in Moscow that GDI Mining lease has 1,36 million tonnes of platinum deposits making it among the largest in the world.
Al Rosa, the world’s biggest diamond producer, also struck an agreement to start core operations in Zimbabwe in Chiadzwa.
An agreement was also tinkered, by the two Presidents, for Russia to provide geological services to properly quantify Zimbabwe’s national minerals endowment.
In the area of agriculture, Zimbabwe and Russia agreed to build a fertiliser and ago-chemicals manufacturing plant through Russia’s URAL Chem owned by billionaire Dimitri Mazepin .
The plant will be in Zimbabwe, making it a hub for fertiliser supply for not only Zimbabwe but other countries in the region.
The two leaders also agreed to establish a centre for agri-equipment, to service both Zimbabwe and the region.
Another deal for supply of thousand tonnes of wheat was also sealed by the two leaders.
Agreements were also reached on civil aviation cooperation, supply of rail wagons for National Railways of Zimbabwe and rail construction.
Harare and Moscow also agreed to cooperate in monitoring of proceeds of crimes and financing of terrorism. An agreement on scholarships was also sealed at the Kremlin meeting.
A Zimbabwe-Russia Business Forum was also held in Moscow.
President Mnangagwa also took some time out to honour and salute heroes and heroines of the Second World War and braved the cutting bleak weather to lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at the Kremlin.
Earlier on the President addressed International Relations students at the Moscow Institute of International Relations and met some Zimbabwean students living in the Russian Federation.
The next stop was Minsk in Belarus, a country renowned for agriculture and equipment manufacturing and heavy-duty trucks, some which have already found a market at Chiadzwa diamond mining and another consignment was said to be on the way to Zimbabwe.
A total of eight (8) agreements were sealed in Minsk at the Independence Palace in Minsk between President Mnangagwa and his counterpart Mr Alexander Lukashenko in various sectors including agriculture and infrastructure development that will make Zimbabwe a regional transport and logistics hub.
A road and rail network could be built under a Zimbabwe-Belarus-China tripartite arrangement to link the Indian and Atlantic oceans across Southern Africa and through Zimbabwe.
The scheme involves several Southern African countries and indications are a number of regional leaders have already embraced the proposal said chief of Presidential Affairs of Belarus, Mr. Viktor Sherman.
Belarus will also invest in in irrigation systems, residential housing, roads and a 100 MW Solar Plant.
It was also revealed that a Belarus company is conducting geo-survey work on 270 thousand square kilometres and has already made preliminary reports of prime gold, chrome and lithium deposits.
Zimbabwe and Belarus are on the verge of concluding agreements on joint production and processing of beef, poultry pork, dairy, horticulture fruits wheat and maize, it was revealed.
The President also took time to lay a wreath, on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at the victory square or Ploshed Pabedii in local language. This is in honour of Bekarussian who fell in the Second World War as Belarus had a very high death toll from that war.
In Azerbaijan the president was chatting new territory for both sides as the two Presidents, Cde. Emmerson Mnangawa and Ilham Aliyev were meeting for the first time. Zimbabwe already had thriving diplomatic relations with Russia and Belarus but with Azerbaijan and Kazakstan it was breaking new ground in search of economic cooperation, in line with Zimbabwe’s economic diplomacy Policy.
Discussions between the two Presidents in Baku explored cooperation in the oil sector and funding of mining and infrastructure development for both countries’ benefit.
While in Baku the President took time to acquaint himself with some of the world’s best practices by visiting the Service Centre which is in charge of registrations including company registrations which take just 15 minutes to accomplish.
From Baku, the President was off to Astana, Kazakhstan, the final stop. Here the foundation stone for a productive relationship between Zimbabwe and Kazakhstan was laid. The meeting took place between President Mnangagwa and President Nursultan Nazarbayev was the Korda Presidential Palace to discuss areas of possible cooperation.
After hours of deliberations the two leaders were optimistic of a mutually beneficial partnership with a capacity to ease Zimbabwe’s situation under sanctions.
The Kazakh President hailed President Mnangagwa’s first ever visit to the region and said Zimbabwe is a strategic partner bilaterally, regionally and an ally in the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) and the United Nations. He said there were areas of cooperation that can be established in the agriculture, mining, transport and agricultural processing and value addition, to mention but a few.
While in Astana the president visited some places of historic significance and cultural importance such as the Baterei Monument, standing some 97 metres from the ground. The museum is where there was the model household of the Kazakh family. How the family gathers around a low dining table and partakes of meals from clay utensils.