ZIMBABWE and Rwanda yesterday signed four Memoranda of Understanding (MoU/Agreements) to cement bilateral relations at inaugural virtual session of the Joint Permanent Commission on Cooperation (JPCC).
Some of the agreements signed include, the General Cooperation Agreement on the Establishment of a JPCC, Diplomatic consultations, the Rwanda Development Board and ZimTrade cooperation and cooperation in the Field of Media, Information and Publicity.
The agreement on Legal Mutual Assistance on Criminal Matters and the MoU on Cooperation in the Field of Prisons/Correctional Services are expected to be signed today due to the absence of the responsible Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Ziyambi Ziyambi who was committed to other Government businesses.
The signing of the General Cooperation Agreement put in place the appropriate legal framework for bilateral cooperation as envisioned by President Mnangagwa and his Rwandese counterpart Paul Kagame.
The four-day virtual Joint Permanent Commission on Cooperation ended yesterday.
Minister of Local Government and Public Works July Moyo who was the acting Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade co-chaired the session together with his Rwandese Foreign Affairs Minister Dr Vincent Biruta.
Minister Moyo signed the General Cooperation Agreement on the Establishment of a Joint Permanent Commission on Cooperation, the MoU on Diplomatic consultations representing the Government, while Minister of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Monica Mutsvangwa signed the MoU on Cooperation in the Field of Media, Information and Publicity.
ZimTrade chairperson Ms Clara Mlambo also signed the MoU between Rwanda Development Board and ZimTrade.
The inaugural session of the Rwanda-Zimbabwe Joint Permanent Commission on Cooperation is a brainchild of President Mnangagwa and his counterpart President Kagame after their engagements in 2019.
Minister Moyo said the signing of five more Agreements/MoUs will certainly serve to strengthen and broaden the scope of bilateral cooperation between the two countries.
"I am particularly pleased to note that Zimbabwe and Rwanda's trade and investment promotion organisations, ZimTrade and the Rwanda Development Board respectively, have also today signed their MoU, whose overall objective is to promote mutually beneficial trade and investment between the two countries."
In an interview soon after signing the MoU on Cooperation in the Field of Media, Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa was optimistic that the MoU is a milestone in enhancing bilateral relations between the two countries.
"We are quite excited as the Ministry of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services. The signing of this MoU between the Government of Zimbabwe and the Government Rwanda is a milestone in enhancing bilateral relations between the two countries.
"We know that this has come out of the culmination of a lot of effort and meetings which have been held by our officials and we are very grateful that we have managed to sign this. If we don't tell the story as Africans, somebody else will tell it in a different way. So I am very happy that we will be able to do exchanges of information between Rwanda and Zimbabwe.
"Our people will need to understand what happened in Rwanda and what the Government of Rwanda and the people Rwanda did to make it possible to be where they are today, our Zimbabwean people will also be able to understand what challenges as African countries Rwanda went through and how they fought hard to be where they are today."
She emphasised the need for exchange programmes for journalists between the two countries.
"This is a great thing. We want our television, our radio, to be able to get news from Rwanda and they should also be able to get news from Zimbabwe so that the Rwandese will also understand how Zimbabwean people are. That way you actually enhance that relationship between the two people. So we are quite excited,
"We look forward to a situation where our journalists will have an opportunity to have exchange programmes. We need to do that so that our journalists are also exposed when they speak about even their country, when they speak about Africa, about the world, they have that outside exposure and we look forward to their journalists also coming," said Minister Mutsvangwa.
Zimbabwe is expected to host the next Joint Permanent Commission on Cooperation in 2023.