Close perspectives of the far arc
Agreements in action: after the Belarusian President's historic visit to Zimbabwe, trade and economic relations between Belarus and Zimbabwe have significantly intensified
Experts call the state visit of the President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko to this African country at the beginning of the year a new page in the relations between Belarus and Zimbabwe. Following the visit results, a number of agreements were reached. All of them were documented and became the roadmap between the states. This extensive document covers activities in the political and diplomatic, trade and economic, agricultural fields, healthcare, medicine, security, energy, supply and maintenance of equipment. And the total economic effect of the visit is estimated at about US$ 200 million. At the same time, contracts were signed for the supply of about 4,000 units of Belarusian tractor, agricultural and other equipment to Zimbabwe. Now the parties are discussing new profitable contracts.
The reputable Zimbabwean edition of The Sunday Mail published an article the other day that a record grain harvest is expected in the country. It is expected that to exceed 440 thousand tons. It seems to be just an ordinary news. But the point is, that achieving such a result was possible due to Belarusian technology. And this is particularly emphasized by the African partners. According to the representative of the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water Resources and Rural Development of Zimbabwe, wheat harvesting is almost completed throughout the country. In order to harvest faster before the start of the rainy season, the government has deployed the latest Belarusian combines. The flagship GS12 combine harvester processes at least 40 hectares per day. The use of improved agricultural machinery from Belarus has made the harvesting process trouble-free, the ministry representative stressed. He added that the purchase of Belarusian equipment helped to improve the harvesting and brought success to this year's harvesting campaign.
Work for the result
It should be noted that under ongoing external pressure from the West, Belarus made a bid on cooperation with far arc countries, including Africa. The continent today is regarded as the most profitable global player in the medium term. This is evidenced by the rapid economic growth of individual states. New centers of growth are emerging in Africa, more of them will appear in the near future. And cooperation with the countries of this continent is promising for many states. Belarus is no exception. Recent years have witnessed a number of important high-level meetings, contacts in the industrial sphere have significantly intensified. The Head of our state has set the task to make maximum efforts and significantly increase cooperation with this developing continent.
Zimbabwe is of particular interest. The country has a large population, which determines priorities in agriculture. The main task now facing the Government of an African country is to ensure national food security. In this regard, the experience of Belarus is extremely important for it. An impressive amount of work has been done in recent years, which has allowed to reach a new qualitative level of relations between Belarus and Zimbabwe. This is confirmed by the figures of the growing trade turnover. Since 2018, it has increased eightfold. At the same time, the countries are not limited to net trade, but are working together to implement long-term investment projects in agriculture, light industry, mining, healthcare, and industrial cooperation. This became possible due to contacts at the highest level, Oleg Samoukin, analyst at the Belarusian Institute of Strategic Research, said.
- In the next ten years, the African continent will develop faster than other regions of the world as a market for goods and services. Zimbabwe is striving to increase the number of reliable ties around the world, and Belarus is a convenient partner that does not have a colonial past and shows no claims to geopolitical dominance. Despite various objective difficulties, work in this country is attractive both for receiving dividends from implementing short-term projects, and for establishing cooperation with African partners in a wider geographical range. Zimbabwe's main resources are its favorable geographical location and mineral reserves. Climatic conditions create prerequisites for intensive development of agriculture.
The analyst draws attention to the fact that an important resource is the population, being today one of the most educated in Africa, which creates additional opportunities for the development of the country.
- Belarusian education is in demand in Zimbabwe, as well as in Africa as a whole, as evidenced by the signing in May of this year of the roadmap for 2023-2025 in the field of higher education and university science between Minsk and Harare. In Zimbabwe, Belarusian agricultural machinery is in demand, there is a need for heavy, underground and surface mining equipment and other materials needed for mines.
According to him, in addition to direct supplies, there is a need for modernization of railways and highways. Urban environment requires solutions in the field of public transport.
-Taking into account Zimbabwe's dependence on electricity imports from neighboring countries, the construction of energy facilities is a long-term promising direction", Oleg Samoukin says.
- Zimbabwe faces a difficult task of developing the healthcare system – the construction of medical facilities, training of hospital staff. Dynamic entry into the African markets requires concerted efforts with partners who have advanced in the implementation of their own strategies on the continent, while being balanced for Belarus. Thus, the level of interaction between Zimbabwe and South Africa suggests the prospects of joint Belarusian-South African projects in this country and the states of the region.