Sydney Kawadza Mashonaland West Bureau Chief
Local companies here will next year have a rare opportunity to participate and market their products at the China Lanzhou Investment and Trade Fair as the province enhances its cooperation with that country's Gansu province.
The deal was brokered by Minister of State for Mashonaland West Provincial Affairs Mary Mliswa-Chikoka when she attended the 25th China Lanzhou Investment and Trade Fair from July 4 to 8 this year.
Minister Mliswa-Chikoka took the opportunity to engage a number investors to open up the province for broadened trade relations with the Gansu province in areas such as agriculture, energy, tourism and infrastructure development.
"With this year's edition of the Fair having come and gone, I will facilitate for travel of local companies to go and exhibit in the upcoming editions as the two provinces continue to strengthen and deepen their economic ties," she said.
The visit to Gansu province was at the invitation of the China Lanzhou Investment and Trade Fair Committee, after the committee visited Mashonaland West to reaffirm the twinning agreement between the two provinces. The agreement for cooperation between Mashonaland West and Gansu was signed in 2004, but was only activated in April this year following engagement efforts by President Mnangagwa under the "Zimbabwe is open for Business" mantra.
"I had quite fruitful deliberations in China at the 25th China Lanzhou Investment and Trade Fair in our sister province of Gansu in China. It was an opportunity for our province to broaden our trade relations and unlock opportunities as we strive to raise our provincial GDP," said Minister Mliswa-Chikoka.
"Our discussions covered such critical areas as economic, social and academic interests to both provinces. I discovered that in Gansu there is a shortage of land, hence they need to have food provided for from Mashonaland West Province. They have a ready consumptive market waiting for us."
The province of Gansu is known for cattle and sheep rearing.
"They are in the process of improving their provincial herd and this resonates well with our own effort to improve our herd and as such we will be cooperating in that area," said Minister Mliswa-Chikoka.
"I also had an opportunity to network with other influential delegates from Serbia, Spain and Singapore. There is lucrative opportunity for sand abstraction business to Singapore, this is a low hanging fruit that will earn the province the much needed foreign currency."
Minister Mliswa-Chikoka was accompanied by Mashonaland West provincial administrator Mrs Cecelia Chitiyo at the Fair which attracted more than 600 foreign guests from 42 countries, including Zimbabwe, Ghana and Ethiopia.