Russia – Zimbabwe Business Council formation on the cards

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By Alois Vinga

PLANS to form the Russia-Zimbabwe Business Council (RZBC) which will foster synergies between the two countries’ private sectors are currently underway, Industry Minister, Sekai Nzenza revealed Thursday.

The United Nations COMTRADE database on international trade states that in the year 2021 alone, Russia exported goods worth US$7, 92 million with a huge chunk of the export bill dominated by fertilisers.

In the reverse, Zimbabwe’s exports to Russia currently stands at US$5.66 Million during 2021 amid market considerations that with deepened ties, trade between the two countries could be multiplied taking advantage of the cordial relations.

Speaking during a meeting with Russia’s Economic Relations Minister of the Sverdlovsk Region of Yarin Vyacheslav who is currently on three days long visit to the Southern Africa nation, Nzenza revealed plans to form the high-level council.

“The formation of a Russia-Zimbabwe Business Council is in the pipeline and this initiative will go a long way in enhancing the level of economic cooperation between our two countries.

“The Government of Zimbabwe supports such boldness from the private sector, and we would want to see through the success of such efforts.

“It is our fervent hope, that the RZBC 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.

She underscored that Zimbabwe’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 (NDS1) 2021-2025.

The Industry Minister recalled that during her visit to the Sverdlovsk Region, she noticed that it is one of the biggest producers of hybrid machinery for industrial and mechanical use on the back of rising two-way trade between Russia and Zimbabwe stressing the need for beneficial cooperation.

“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.

“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,” added Nzenza.