Zimbabwe's road to economic prosperity and transformation is slowly blossoming, with global firms charmed by First Lady Amai Auxillia Mnangagwa's empowerment and philanthropic works through Angel of Hope Foundation expressing willingness to work with her in national development programmes.
One such company is ChinaBrand International Commercial, which has been following the First Lady's work with keen interest and invited her to China.
The company mobilised 100 Chinese companies that held fruitful meetings yesterday with the Zimbabwean delegation comprising business executives and officials from various ministries and Government departments.
The owner of ChinaBrand, Juliana Yutao-Jiang, lauded the First Lady for her empowerment works and the golden hand that has transformed the lives of many Zimbabweans.
Said Juliana: "It is such a great honour for us to invite Her Excellency of the Republic of Zimbabwe with her delegation teams who are engaged in various areas, including mining, medical care and equipment, tourism, agricultural products and planting, animal husbandry, intelligent electronics, construction and engineering, construction materials, safety products and retail industry.
"In terms of the policy of the Belt and Road Initiative and the bilateral trade, we would like to explore cooperation opportunities to achieve economic development as well. So, in this visit, Her Excellency with her charity organisation called Angel of Hope Foundation, would like to seek happiness and benefit and raise daily necessity for the women and children, seek the enterprise cooperation for the individual and groups that are in need, so as to spread the love and positive energy to the world."
Amai Mnangagwa said since the Chinese potential investors engaged her as patron of Angel of Hope Foundation and the First Lady of Zimbabwe, she was going to open a desk in her office and set up a special committee to cater for some investors affected by red tape.
The planned move will help improve transparency and efficiency at a time when President Mnangagwa's administration is promoting policies that support business development under the "Zimbabwe is Open for Business" policy.
The delegation comprises representatives from the ministries of Energy and Power Development; Mines and Mining Development; Lands, Agriculture, Water and Rural Resettlement; Women Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises Development; Local Government and Public Works; Transport and Infrastructural Development; Health and Child Care; and Environment, Climate Change, Tourism and Hospitality Industry.
The private sector and representatives from Confederation of Zimbabwe Retailers also form part of the delegation that made presentations, marketing Zimbabwe and luring investors.
This is the first time in Zimbabwe's history that a First Lady is leading a business delegation to market the country.
Speaking while opening the business conference, Amai Mnangagwa said she was grateful to ChinaBrand for extending an invitation to her and the business delegation.
"Zimbabwe is safe to visit and to do business with," she said. "We have all come together to establish a cordial relationship with ChinaBrand company, which may also represent the same relationship that exists between the two countries, China and Zimbabwe, at national level."
The First Lady told delegates that the core mandate of Angel of Hope Foundation was "to support vulnerable populations in accessing health products and services that will enable them to lead healthy lives".
Amai Mnangagwa said she had a deep passion to see Zimbabwe grow, especially witnessing women realising their full potential by being industrious and taking on any tasks undertaken by their male counter-parts.
The First Lady has been leading national prayers seeking the turnaround of Zimbabwe's economic fortunes and barely two weeks ago, she was in Ghana with a delegation of women in the tourism sector.
Her works, through Angel of Hope Foundation, also prompted a seven-member delegation of American and Canadian investors to fly to Zimbabwe to witness the development she was rolling out in previously marginalised communities.
The First Lady was delighted that there were companies with confidence in her work.
"These people have been following what I am doing back home through my foundation," she said. "They got interested and invited me here. We want to thank China Brand for remembering Zimbabwe. This is a first of its kind and this is an opportunity to market businesses and our country at large. We want our country to prosper. I am a result-oriented woman and I want to work with people who are hard working."
The First Lady impressed upon the members of her delegation to learn from Chinese companies in attendance.
"In other circles Zimbabwe is being peddled as an unsafe tourism destination, but still these people have faith in Zimbabwe and want to invest," she said.
"We want as many investors to come to Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe is in the transformation era, hence we need investors who will walk with Zimbabwe on its road to recovery."
After Wuzheng Group of Companies met with the Zimbabwean delegation, its general manager for the foreign business department, Xiwen Zhang, expressed zeal to work with the country.
"We are looking forward to partner Zimbabwe, especially in the sanitation sector, that is refuse and recycling," said Xiwen. "We do manufacture automated and unautomated refuse trucks. The refuse collected can be used for fertiliser manufacturing and power generation.
"We have various solutions depending on the requirements of the local government. We can do garbage selection and make use of it. After putting everything in place, we will then send our technical team to do the feasibility study and move to the next step."
Wuzheng Group also manufactures farming equipment.
The Angel of Hope Foundation, represented by its patron Amai Mnangagwa, signed a letter of intent with Wuzheng Group and it reads in part: "Shandong Wuzheng Group Co Ltd and Zimbabwe Angel of Hope Foundation have reached a cooperation intention . . . whereby both parties can liaise with each other for a deep business cooperation . . ."
The Zimbabwe delegation also held a meeting with Tianying Agricultural Facility Company of China Lesso, led by its manager Jiangbo Fu and the company's partners Seacage Agricultural and Telecommunications Pipeline Institute of China Lesso, which was represented by its president, Jianxiong Liang.
In an interview on the sidelines of the meeting, the First Lady said: "I am not in the Government structures, hence when our Chinese friends informed me on the areas they would want to invest in Zimbabwe, I saw it prudent to engage ministries so that they get first-hand information and also for them to exchange notes with the Chinese delegation.
"I then asked for permission to come with them here together with the private sector. Back home, I also work with ministries in executing my philanthropic work."
Women Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Minister Sithembiso Nyoni, who is part of the delegation, said: "This was your private visit Amai and you could have come alone, but you decided to rope us in so that we put our heads together for the transformation of our country.
"You have brought several women in business, including those in the agriculture sector, because Zimbabwe's economy is agro-based. Amai, you have bigger plans for Zimbabwe and we are grateful. We will not let you down."