According to former Zimbabwe Industry and Commerce Minister Dr. Mike Bimha, Russian investors are eager to co-operate with Zimbabwe in its re-industrialization process and economic revival through increased investments in the country.
The minister said that the just ended St Petersburg International Economic Forum in Russia last week, created huge opportunities and benefits for Zimbabwe.
Dr. Bimha said, “Our participation at the forum gave us an indication that Russia wants to engage more with us. The forum was more of an exercise by the Russians to reach out. They do have opportunities but they also believe there are opportunities in other countries. Our discussions looked at the factors that caused de-industrialization in Zimbabwe and what we need to do to re-industrialize. Russia is keen to co-operate with us in that area.”
The minister attended the forum alongside ministers Patrick Chinamasa (Finance and Economic Development) and Walter Chidhakwa (Mines and Mining Development) and representatives from the business community.
The forum brought many countries together with a view to improve trade between each other.
Dr. Bimha said that the major highlight of all the meetings was their conference with Russia’s Minister of Industry and Trade, Mr Denis Manturov.
Dr. Bimha said, “Apart from being Russia’s Minister of Industry and Commerce, Mr Manturov is a special envoy on matters to do with investments in Zimbabwe. In our meeting with him we covered a number of areas including mining, manufacturing, tourism and agriculture with more focus on agro processing. They are keen to engage our private sector and they are also keen to engage ZimTrade to know what Zimbabwe can produce so that they can link up with a similar organization in Russia.”
He said Zimbabwe has been invited to a major expo in Russia next month, where the country is hoping to further strengthen its economic ties with Russia. The minister said Russians were more interested in fertilizer production and glass manufacturing.
“What we are talking about is more of joint ventures or green-field operations. There is a growing interest by Russia in terms of investing in Africa but obviously they have to build in those countries where they already have traditional linkages in terms of political co-operation and I think as Zimbabwe we have that kind of relationship with Russia,” said Dr. Bimha.