Rwanda and Zimbabwe have strengthened their bilateral ties with the signature of five Memorandum of Understanding (MoUs) for cooperation in various fields that are expected to economically develop the two countries.
The signed agreements include tourism, Investment and trade, ICT cooperation and e-government, Agriculture and livestock, Meetings, Incentives, Conferences & Exhibition (MICE), and Environment and climate change.
The MoUs were signed at the ongoing Rwanda and Zimbabwe Trade and Investment Forum that started on September 27, at Kigali Convention Center. The three-day business forum will run until September 30.
“The Government of Rwanda works very closely with Zimbabwe on a range of opportunities that are mutually beneficial for our two countries. These areas include trade and investments, infrastructure, energy, civil aviation among others,” Zephelin Niyonkuru, Deputy Chief Executive Officer of Rwanda Development Board (RDB) said.
In the last two years (2019, 2020) Zimbabwe exported goods worth $15.9 million to Rwanda, while exports from Rwanda were estimated at $113,607.
Niyonkuru believes that these numbers can be improved by capitalizing on the existing bilateral relations between both counties enrooted in their olden friendship.
“Through our partnership and current engagements, bilateral trade could grow to desirable levels between the two countries,” Niyonkuru further said.
Rwanda and Zimbabwe are members of three regional economic communities (RECs), Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), Tripartite free trade area (FTA) and the African Continental free trade area (AfCFTA), the advantage expected to ease trade.
“Zimbabwe has plenty of investment, trade, Mining, education opportunities etc. So far, there is a strong need for the private sector to explore these opportunities, work and trade together for the development of two countries, being in the same economical block like COMESA, it means a huge market,” Amb. Fredrick Shava, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Tade of Zimbabwe said.
Shava believes that with a population of 1.3billion people, Africa is a big market that both countries should take advantage of.
“There is a need to build strong trade networks for business. There is no doubt that the pandemic hit our economies and hence it requires strong collaboration to mitigate the effects,” Amb. Shava added.
“Rwanda’s development strategy is centered around private sector development: We strongly believe that our ambitious development targets can only be achieved through a thriving private sector that delivers sustained and inclusive growth,” Niyonkuru added.
He added that Rwanda has constantly performed well in various indices relating to conducive business climate and the result of these efforts is a sustained average GDP growth of about 8% over the last 10 years, making Rwanda the 2nd fastest growing economy in Africa.
The signed five agreements follow others that were virtually signed in March, 2021.
They include establishment of a joint permanent commission on cooperation between both countries, partnership between the Rwanda Development Board and Zimbabwe Trade Cooperation in the field of media, information and publicity, cooperation in the field of correctional services and mutual legal assistance on criminal matters.