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Saudi-Africa Summit key to fostering relations

Saudi-Africa Summit key to fostering relations

Story by Josephine Mugiyo in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

President Emmerson Mnangagwa says the inaugural Saudi-Africa Summit offers African countries a platform to foster cooperation with the Middle East country on various fronts.

The Saudi-Africa Summit held in Riyadh this Friday, brought together African leaders and the leadership of the Middle East nation.

With Africa on a trajectory to grow its economy through inclusive development, President Mnangagwa was among the Heads of State who attended the engagement.

President Mnangagwa addressed the summit, saying Zimbabwe is pleased to be part of the gathering which enables Africa to foster relations with Saudi Arabia as the continent focuses on economic growth.

“The hosting of the global summit being the first between Saudi and Africa is most opportune given the immense opportunities in this post-COVID era. The global challenges confronting us such as climate change deserve our urgent attention. The forum offers an institutional framework to foster Saudi-African industrialisation,” he said.

Speaking before his presentation at the summit, President Mnangagwa who travelled with some senior government officials, said the Saudis recently expressed interest in cooperating with Zimbabwe in the agriculture sector.

“This is the first time we are attending the Saudi Africa Summit and I felt that I had to bring the Minister of Finance and Minister of Agriculture. I have my Minister of Finance with me. When the Saudi Minister of Foreign Affairs visited Harare, they discussed the issue of food access by Saudi Arabia in Zimbabwe and also that they would also like to grow grain in Zimbabwe if possible,” he added.

Meanwhile, President Filipe Nyusi of Mozambique who is also in Riyadh for the summit, paid a courtesy call on President Mnangagwa this Friday.

Speaking after the closed-door meeting, President Mnangagwa said they exchanged views on numerous issues and how they can promote trade between the two countries.

“We exchanged views about Zimbabwe and Mozambique. You know we are sister-brother republics. Each time we meet is an opportunity to look at the challenges we are facing and how we can continue to promote relations between the two countries and resolve the issue. Our gateway to the world is through Mozambique and we always look at how we can improve on such issues,” he said.

President Nyusi briefed President Mnangagwa on the strides his country has made in fighting terrorism.

“I briefed him on the developments on how we are fighting terrorism in Mozambique. It’s always necessary to brief him on this as Zimbabwe is always with us. We have to tell him always what we are doing. The Machipanda railway line is also an issue that I briefed him as it was being rehabilitated,” he said.

A Memorandum of Understanding has been signed between the Saudi government and Zimbabwe to foster cooperation in the mining sector.

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