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10 July 2024, 16:49

Lukashenko’s meetings with business ladies from Zimbabwe, Nigeria in Palace of Independence in detail

First Lady of Zimbabwe Auxillia Mnangagwa and First Lady of Nigeria Oluremi Tinubu are in Belarus on a visit. They are expected to attend the Slavianski Bazaar in Vitebsk but the ladies decided to combine the useful with the pleasant by significantly expanding the circle of meetings and negotiations in order to sketch out new prospects for bilateral cooperation. Belarus provided full support for that. Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko also met with the ladies at the Palace of Independence.
The first lady of Zimbabwe arrived in Belarus with a delegation of representatives of business circles of that country. The delegation has a busy itinerary. The key goal is to invigorate cooperation with Belarus in various areas. Each lady came to Minsk with a package of concrete proposals. They were discussed at the meeting with the Belarusian leader among other places.

“We are looking forward to the visit of the president of Zimbabwe to Belarus. We will provide him with all possible assistance in his mission. We will try our best to bring all our ideas and plans to fruition. You are well familiar with Belarus. I know that you are accompanied by representatives of the business community of Zimbabwe. It’s good that these are women. They have a sharper eye. They will take notice of all the best things that Belarus has, including the things that we are ready to jointly implement in Zimbabwe and elsewhere. Please convey to Emmerson [Mnangagwa, President of Zimbabwe], to my old friend, our best wishes and tell him about our determination to implement our agreements,” the Belarusian leader stated.


In turn, First Lady of Nigeria Oluremi Tinubu said that her spouse and President of Nigeria Bola Tinubu understands the importance of maintaining friendly relations and he wanted to get first-hand information. “We don’t know much about Belarus, so it’s important to find out everything on the ground. We have learned a lot. This is a reliable partner in the field of education and agriculture, which is especially important for us. When I return home, I will communicate this information to him,” the first lady said.

Aleksandr Lukashenko confirmed Belarus’ readiness to advance relations and asked to convey an invitation for the Nigerian leader to visit Minsk: “We are well-informed about your needs and capabilities. This is very important for us. And we can be of great help to you, the same way you can help us a lot in our development.” Opportunities for cooperation in manufacturing sector, agribusiness, the creation of joint ventures, humanitarian cooperation were mentioned.

The first lady of Nigeria praised the businesslike spirit of the Belarusian side: “Belarusians are very serious people. They are ready to get down to work immediately. Our meetings began as soon as the plane touched down. We appreciate such a no-nonsense approach on the part of Belarusians since we are trying to build a new country.”

Belarusian Minister of Foreign Affairs Maksim Ryzhenkov is expected to visit Nigeria soon. He will be in charge of overseeing Belarus’ cooperation with African countries. Agreements reached in Minsk with assistance of the first ladies will be at the heart of negotiations and new mutual plans.

Broad opportunities and potential for cooperation with Zimbabwe

The Zimbabwean delegation includes representatives of the women’s public organization that operates under the aegis of the first lady. They represent companies operating in various fields, including mining, agriculture, banking, information industry, and tourism. Certainly, a cultural program awaits them in Belarus, including a trip to the Slavianski Bazaar in Vitebsk, as well as meetings with colleagues from the Belarusian Women’s Union. But it is not the key goal of their stay in the Belarusian land. They are more intent on bringing the two countries closer to each other in the humanitarian dimension and on establishing tighter cooperation in trade and economy. One can say that the women representing Zimbabwe’s business circles are ambassadors in charge of establishing multi-faceted cooperation between Belarus and Zimbabwe.

Every one of them was granted an opportunity to present their initiatives as Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko met with First Lady of Zimbabwe Auxillia Mnangagwa in the Palace of Independence. In her words, the discussion was substantial and open. It also indicated that there are many cooperation options, including projects that can be implemented not only in the bilateral format by Belarus and Zimbabwe, but projects that can also cover the entire African market. Thanks to the favorable geographical location business projects, which begin in Zimbabwe, can reach other countries of the African continent, for instance, Mozambique. And it will happen quite fast, the first lady was convinced. “This scale of cooperation is very important for us,” she stressed.

Cooperation in mining natural resources

One of the areas of mutual interest for advancing cooperation is the mining of natural resources. Zimbabwe has plenty of them. Erica Mapuranga, the owner of a mining company, noted that both sides are already successfully implementing previously reached agreements. In particular, special vehicles and machines of Belarusian make are being bought and used by Zimbabwe’s mining industry. The Zimbabwean side is now interested in new projects with Belarus. Erica Mapuranga did not go into details. She only mentioned the general eagerness to advance cooperation.

Expansion of deliveries of agricultural machines

Belarus-Zimbabwe cooperation in agriculture was also discussed during the delegation’s visit to Belarus. It may seem that contacts are already advancing very intensively but Zimbabwe is ready to advance even more taking into account peculiarities of the national economy and the huge demand for agricultural machines and technologies. According to the Zimbabwean farmer Defin Mbange, Zimbabweans take pleasure in using Belarusian agricultural machines, which have demonstrated excellent performance. “We see the level of the technical capabilities Belarus has and see that we can advance partnership in this sphere and expand the use of Belarusian agricultural machines,” she said.

Interaction in banking and finance

Tighter business cooperation in banking and finance was also mentioned. Chief Executive Officer of the Zimbabwe Women’s Microfinance Bank Mandas Marikanda presented the relevant proposals to the Belarusian side. Taking into account Belarus’ global interest in establishing the export of its goods and services via Zimbabwe to other countries on the African continent, she suggested more broadly using capabilities of the banking system. “We are here for that. I hope we will be able to establish cooperation in this sphere and sign the relevant agreement,” she noted.

Initiatives in tourism and mass media

The chief executive officer of a Zimbabwean hotel chain Chipo Majindu talked about potential for cooperation in tourism and hospitality business and drew attention to the high level of service in Belarusian hotels. In her words, guests feel Belarusian hospitality right upon arrival in the country and Belarusian hotels offer excellent service standards. She believes it would be useful and promising to establish mutual contacts and possible internships, train representatives of the tourism business in both countries.

The possibility of expanding contacts with Belarus in the sphere of mass media was mentioned by Merit Munzwembiri, a representative of the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation. “We presented the spheres of cooperation we are interested in [during the meeting with the Belarusian head of state]. We are intent on promoting partnership and contacts with state television and radio broadcasting companies. They may include specialist exchange programs so that we could learn from each other, the sharing of the best practices and opinions with regard to technical support for television and radio broadcasting and equipment,” she said.
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