Zimbabwe and Tanzania are set to cement their relations this week with top officials between the two countries expected to thrash out numerous economic agreements during the Eighth Session of the Joint Permanent Commission on Cooperation (JPCC), which starts in Harare today.
The plan to tie economic deals is in tandem with the new dispensation’s drive to promote economic diplomacy for the attainment of Vision 2030 of an Upper Middle Income status.
Tanzania’s delegation arrived in the country yesterday.
Senior officials from the two countries will convene today and tomorrow to prepare for the ministerial meeting slated for Wednesday.
Secretary for Foreign Affairs and International Trade Ambassador James Manzou told The Herald yesterday that the JPCC will see a number of economic deals being concluded.
“This JPCC represents the intensification of our engagement efforts. Remember we have the re-engagement with the West which we did not have relations with, but with SADC and beyond who were our friends, we are intensifying our relations but focusing on economic diplomacy.
“So many of the items that will be on the agenda will have an economic bias in order to facilitate trade and investment flows between our two countries,” said Ambassador Manzou.
He said the JPCC comes “straight on the heels” of the “very successful visit” by Tanzanian President John Magufuli.
President Magufuli visited Zimbabwe in May on a two-day State visit but ended up extending his stay, a rarity in statecraft, by a day to allow more time for discussions.
The two leaders committed to transfiguring the existing historical and political relations towards stronger bilateral focus.
Said Ambassador Manzou: “So the dynamism brought about by this visit (by President Magufuli) has led to the early convening of the Joint Commission.
“The two Heads of State (Presidents Mnangagwa and Magufuli) actually tasked the ministers to find ways (of intensifying relations) and we, as Zimbabwe, are very happy to be hosting our Tanzanian colleagues.
“You know very well that our political relations with Tanzania are very excellent but what we are now doing is to make sure that we develop meaningful economic ties between our two countries.”
He said in terms of trade, some local companies such as top seed producer Seed Co, are already operating in Tanzania while one that country’s top firms, Bakhresa Holdings, has also invested in Blue Ribbon Foods.
Further, Ambassador Manzou said in terms of air transport, Air Zimbabwe flies to Tanzania twice a week while Air Tanzania lands into Zimbabwe three times a week.
“So already, we are seeing an intensification of our cooperation with Tanzania in the new dispensation, and we are meeting (today and tomorrow) in order to discuss and recommend for the consideration of ministers on Wednesday, your areas where we can further deepen our cooperation,” he said.
The JPCC comes soon after Zimbabwe and Namibia resolved to elevate their relations from JPCC to Bi-National Commission.
JPCC is for ministers while the BNC involves Presidents.–herald.do.zw