Farirai Machivenyika Senior Reporter

President Mnangagwa yesterday commended the excellent bilateral ties between Zimbabwe and Russia and called for more Russian investments into the country.

The President said this while receiving eight tonnes of personal protective equipment (PPE) donated by Russia to assist the country in fighting the Covid-19 pandemic.

Russian Ambassador to Zimbabwe Mr Nikolai Krasilnikov handed over the equipment .

Following his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin during the inaugural Russia-Africa Summit in Sochi in October 2019, President Mnangagwa said relations between the two countries had a bright future.

RUSSIA DONATION

“Already, Zimbabwe is host to major gold, diamond and platinum mining investments by Russian companies.

“These include the Russian-Zimbabwean platinum venture, Great Dyke Investments and the diamond mining partnership in which Alrosa, the largest diamond mining company in Russia, is in a joint venture with the Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC).

“There is a great appetite for more Russian investments in Zimbabwe and the investment climate continues to improve as the country opens up for business, riding on a raft of economic and other reforms that are already bearing fruit,” said President Mnangagwa.

He urged Russian businesses to consider investing in Zimbabwe due to its diverse economic opportunities that included mining, agriculture and tourism.

The President said there was need for more cooperation in rebuilding the economy also devastated natural disasters including droughts and cyclones.

He also thanked the Russians for the donation of the PPEs and said they would be put to good use.

“The Russian Federation has been a great friend in the mobilisation of financial resources to fight the Covid-19 pandemic.

“We recognise that Russia has exercised principled leadership in supporting our call for the lifting of unjustified economic sanctions imposed on countries such as Zimbabwe.

“The lifting of sanctions would provide impetus in our efforts to overcome the multi-pronged burden imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic and the same time enable us to seek debt relief measures as part of complementary economic recovery efforts,” President Mnangagwa said.

It was incumbent on progressive countries to address the threats to multilateralism in order to prevent the trampling of rights of developing countries by the rich Western nations.

In his remarks, Ambassador Krasilnikov commended Zimbabwe’s efforts in fighting the spread of the disease and said the donation was a sign of the strong bilateral relations between the two countries.

“In order to lend a shoulder to our all weather and long-time friend, the Government of Russia, under the leadership of President Putin, delivered medical humanitarian aid that consists of PPE and PCR test kits.

“We know that it will increase the capacity of the Zimbabwe healthcare and we know that Covid-19 relief, regardless of volumes, is not the end of the story.

“We need to find a solution to eradicate the disease,” he said.

Russia was willing to work with Zimbabwe in the field of medicine and pharmaceuticals.

He said Zimbabwe had potential to be a leader in the field of science and research.

Ambassador Krasilnikov said the scope for cooperation between the two countries was great following the agreements reached between President Mnangagwa and President Putin last year.