The formation of a Russia-Zimbabwe Business Council is in the pipeline and the initiative is set to go a long way in enhancing the level of economic cooperation between the two countries, Industry and Commerce Minister Dr Sekai Nzenza has said.
Speaking during stakeholders meeting with a Russian delegation, Minister Nzenza said the Government supported boldness from the private sector and they would want to see through the success of such efforts.
She was especially keen on Russian exporters to look at assembly plants for their equipment in Zimbabwe, and then developing these into production centres, noting that goods manufactured in Zimbabwe could not only be sold inside Zimbabwe, but because they were manufactured inside an AfCFTA member, could be sold duty free throughout the continent since they would meet the rules of origin.
"It is our fervent hope, that the Russia-Zimbabwe Business Council will help foster synergies amongst our private sectors as they explore and harness business and investment opportunities that are in Zimbabwe and Russia," she said.
"Our Government's thrust is on industrialisation that facilitates value addition and beneficiation by transforming value chains such as leather, cotton, and horticulture as clearly outlined under the National Development Strategy 2021-2025.
"In my visit to the Sverdlovsk Region, I noticed that it is one of the biggest producers of hybrid machinery for industrial and mechanical use, and since my last visit to this region, I have witnessed an increase in two-way trade between Russia and Zimbabwe. On the Zimbabwe's side, these sectors are now reaping the fruits from this beneficial cooperation."
Minister Nzenza said Zimbabwe was blessed and well-endowed with vast natural resources that can propel the development of the economy, which has pushed the Government to initiate the Agriculture Mechanisation Programme.
The programme was reaching high momentum and some of the equipment was being imported from Russia and other European and Asian countries.
"Our sincere hope is that we will have more Russian business players coming to set up assembly plants for machinery and equipment here in Zimbabwe, a country that is strategically positioned to service the whole of Southern Africa and beyond," Minister Nzenza said.
"Zimbabwe is a member of the AfCFTA which presents an opportunity for any company to produce here and export to any part of Africa duty free. We are also pleased to highlight our open and transparent trade and business registration processes. Zimbabwe is one of the easiest countries in the world to register a business in.
"We have Zimbabwe Investment and Development Authority, an investment agency responsible for promoting and facilitating both local and foreign investment in the country. This is a one-stop centre for investment facilitation and promotion, which makes it easier for the registration of a company, and start operating formally within the perimeters of Zimbabwe."