The Herald (Harare)

5 January 2013

Zimbabwe: Envoy Commends Inclusive Govt

Outgoing Malawian ambassador to Zimbabwe Professor Richard Phoya yesterday commended the inclusive Government for bringing political and economic stability in the country. Speaking after bidding farewell to Acting President Joice Mujuru at her Munhumutapa offices in Harare yesterday, Prof Phoya described the GNU as a "unifying accord" that has led to development in Zimbabwe.

Prof Phoya leaves Zimbabwe tomorrow after serving for more than two and a half years.

"I came here after the formation of the Government of National Unity and during my stay I have seen that tremendous work has been done and things are changing in Zimbabwe," he said.

"The political and economic situation in Zimbabwe is getting better everyday and the principals should be given credit for that."

Prof Phoya said there was room for trade improvement between Zimbabwe and Malawi.

"A lot of trade takes place between the two countries and there is a need for everyone to play his part in seeing that it (trade) is promoted," he said.

"There are several areas where we can assist each other and if done effectively this will enhance our trading relations."

He paid tribute to Zimbabwe for being a "transit route" for thousands of Malawians going to South Africa in search of greener pastures.

"We are like brothers and sisters as evidenced by the way you have treated our nationals who wanted to cross the borders into South Africa," he said.

Prof Phoya expressed Malawi's gratitude that Zimbabwe had played host to many Malawians.

"For that we will be forever grateful and hope our friendship will grow from strength to strength."

Prof Phoya said Zimbabwe was a peaceful country as opposed to utterances by most Western countries.

"During my stay I have found Zimbabweans to be peace loving people," he said.

"The people are hard-working and they have got a great future once their situation normalises."

Zimbabwe and Malawi share excellent relations which were further strengthened in 2007 when the two governments signed a revised bilateral trade agreement which is aimed at promoting two-way trade between the countries.

The new agreement has resulted in growing volumes and enhanced flow of trade between the two countries.

Before the 2007 accord, trade between the two countries was governed by a Bilateral Preferential Trade Agreement that came into force in 1995.

Zimbabwe is Malawi's largest export market after South Africa.

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