Friday, 30 August 2019

I HAD A FRUITFUL MEETING WITH ABE : ED

President Mnangagwa yesterday met Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in an engagement that strengthened bilateral ties and unlocked new areas of socio-economic support from the world’s third largest economy.

The two leaders met for bilateral talks on the final day of the Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD) in Yokohama.

Later, President Mnangagwa also met Japan’s powerful Emperor, His Majesty Naruhito in a closed meeting as he concluded his successful tour to Japan. Speaking to journalists from Zimbabwe after his meeting with Prime Minister Abe, the President said the engagement had been fruitful.

“This morning (yesterday) I had a very important meeting with the Prime Minister of Japan himself, Prime Minister Abe and in the process we shared our views of cooperation. We discussed economic cooperation and trade cooperation between Zimbabwe and Japan, with the interest that Japan has and is eager to do their best to support the recovery of our economy.

“They are well informed about the situation in our economy in the country and they have given us several grants to assist us in several areas, in particular in the agriculture sector.”

President Mnangagwa said TICAD had unlocked an avalanche of opportunities as Zimbabwe is billed to tap into a US$20 billion fund that Japan offered to African countries. 

“I think it was critically important that Zimbabwe participated at TICAD. We are going to benefit from TICAD (financially).

“The initial amount is about US $20 billion that has been put on the table by Japan with the possibilities of that amount being increased.

“It is up to the individual member states of the AU to come up wih projects. For Zimbabwe we already have promises of support in various areas.”

The President said Prime Minister Abe had offered support to fund mechanisation of Zimbabwe’s agriculture.

“In particular, in my discussions with the Prime Minister of Japan, he said Japan is willing to look at supporting us in the modernisation and mechanisation of our agriculture and development of our infrastructure.”

Discussions with Prime Minister also included the issue of advancing Zimbabwe’s railway network. “He (Prime Minister Abe) also said it is necessary that we develop our linkage with the outside world through modernising our railways,” President Mnangagwa said.

The President said he also negotiated with Prime Minister Abe for Japan to finance a number of infrastructure projects around the country.

“We have discussed again with the Prime Minister the possibility of Japan financing the ring road around the city of Harare, which is a US$110 million project.

“We also discussed the issue of rehabilitating Birchenough Bridge on the Save River and several other irrigation projects.

“There are several other projects that they have said they will look at. In the area of ICT and technologies, they have said Japan is looking at modernising our agriculture, modernising our mining sector, modernising our infrastructure development and all those areas.”

On the social front, Japan committed to provide millions of dollars for Harare Hospital’s children ward.

“During my visit here, Japan has also undertaken to modernise and refurbish the pediatric department at Harare Hospital. It will cost some money but they agreed that they will take that and proceed.

Furthermore, Japan’s Government pledged 150 000 tonnes of grain to mitigate the effects of last year’s drought. The President said after returning home, he will launch an irrigation project funded by Japan.

“As I go back I am going to commission an irrigation project on the eastern part of the country, the Nyakomva Irrigation Scheme, which is in its second phase and has been financed by Japan. So you can see how much they are assisting Zimbabwe.”

Yesterday, the President also said there were several investors keen to invest in Zimbabwe.

During TICAD, Zimbabwe caught the eye of international investors as the new emerging market for global capital.

The 7th TICAD summit was held under the theme “Accelerating Economic Transformation and Improving Business Environment through Innovation and Private Sector Engagement.”

African Heads of States, led by African Union President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi attended TICAD. Herald

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