The Herald (Harare)

Zimbabwe: Zim-Russia Bippa On the Cards

ZIMBABWE and Russia are finalising a draft Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement as the two countries seek to enhance investment and trade relations, Economic Planning and Investment Promotion Minister Tapiwa Mashakada said last week.

"Russian investors have developed a keen interest in various sectors especially mining and energy. They want to step up their investments and we are working on a BIPPA that will protect their investments and also protect our investments.

"We are hopefully that it (the draft document) should be ready by end of September which should work as motivation for Russian investors. It is in line with our policy to promote investment from the BRICS grouping," he said in an interview.

The BRICS is a grouping of the fastest emerging economies, which comprise Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.

The minister said officials from his ministry and from the Attorney-General's Office were in Moscow, the Russian capital, where they were negotiating the treaty.

Last month, a powerful business delegation from Russia was in Zimbabwe and expressed keen interest to invest in the mining and energy sectors. Another delegation is expected next month, said the minister.

Last month, an 18-member Russian delegation led by the Deputy Minister of Industry and Commerce, Mr Georgy Kalamanov, was in the country to explore business opportunities. The delegation met Vice President Joice Mujuru.

Mr Kalamanov said his country was prepared to invest in Zimbabwe.

"We are quite ready to implement big projects," he said, adding: "We want to work with Zimbabwe in areas such as the energy sector, mining and infrastructure development."

Minister Mashakada said another high business delegation was expected into the country next month.

In its quest to attract investment from the BRICS nations, Zimbabwe conducted some investment missions in Brazil, India, South Africa and China.

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