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Keynote address to the plenary session of the Russian Federation Council of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation by Hon. M. Chinomona

It is a privilege for me to be accorded this rare opportunity to
address this August House.

I would like to express my gratitude for your invitation and for the honour and hospitalities attached.

Madame Speaker, allow me to extend fraternal greetings from the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe Dr Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa and the people of Zimbabwe.

The Russian Federation has stood with the people of Zimbabwe during our most trying times and continues to stand with us.

Without support from Russia, our independence would not have been achieved.

Today, as we face illegal sanctions imposed on the people of Zimbabwe by the West, the Russian Federation continues to stand with us, with the same resolve, comradeship, and determination for justice.

It is, therefore, only proper that I express my sincere gratitude, and that of the people of Zimbabwe, to the government and the people of Russia for their unwavering support.

Madame Speaker, Zimbabwe is acutely aware of the geopolitics and the historical context that forms the background to the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict.

It is not lost on us that the Russian Federation and Ukraine share a
historical umbilical cord that stretches back for hundreds of years.

Allow me Madame Speaker to briefly delve into history and reflect that one cannot talk of the genesis of Russian history, culture and religion without reference to the yesteryear city called Kievan-Rus which is now Kyiv, the current capital city of Ukraine.

It is from that yesteryear city that the history, culture, and religion of Russia spread to the rest of Russia.

The port of Sevastopol, in the Crimea, hosts the mighty Russian Black Sea Fleet.

It is, therefore, quite clear to all, that the Russian Federation has historical and security interests in that region.

Madame Speaker, in light of the above, Zimbabwe is aware of the ongoing attempts, since the end of the cold war, by the West, to undermine Russia’s peaceful existence as a sovereign state.

This has been executed through a calculated and determined expansion of their western alliance to the very doorsteps of the Russian Federation,
culminating in the current conflict.

The response by the west was expected.

They have made spirited attempts to vilify the Russian Federation including the imposition of unilateral sanctions on Russia. Being a victim of sanctions ourselves Zimbabwe does not believe this is the route to take in addressing the situation.

Our President, His Excellency, Dr Mnangagwa has called for the resolution of the conflict in accordance with the UN Charter, notably its provisions on the peaceful settlement of conflicts.

Zimbabwe remains a strong believer in the UN Charter and all its principles and purposes, including the peaceful settlement of disputes.

Zimbabwe does not support the unilateral imposition of sanctions
against Russia or any member the United Nations.

Multilateralism, Diplomacy, and engagement, must be given a chance to resolve the matters.

The relations between our two countries have continued to grow from strength to strength.

I applaud our friendship which is anchored on strong political and economic relations aimed toward poverty reduction, development, and
economic growth.

In that respect, the first Russia-Africa Summit, held in October 2019, was a historic event that emphasized, among other things, state sovereignty and Russia’s willingness to offer aid and trade deals to African countries without any conditions attached.

Africa remains a crucial player in the emerging new geopolitical order due to its strategic natural resources and emerging business opportunities.

The recently held 2023 Russia-Africa Conference provided another opportunity to strengthen multilateral cooperation, especially in the areas of digital technology, education, security, and healthcare.

Zimbabwe, as a member of the African Union, stands to benefit significantly from these relations.

It is in that regard that I call for a further strengthening of these relations as they stand to bring our people closer.

Madame Speaker, Zimbabwe’s foreign policy is anchored on peaceful coexistence and international engagement, as propounded in our President’s mantra “Zimbabwe is open for business.”

I am pleased to note that Zimbabwe has witnessed significant investments from the Russian Federation in sectors such as mining, education and agriculture.

In that regard, it is my wish that business persons from our two countries will continue to develop strong strategic business engagements and partnerships to exploit the vast business opportunities that are abundant in our two countries.

Zimbabwe launched Vision 2030 at the inception of the New Dispensation, which aims at an “Empowered and Prosperous Upper Middle-Income Society by 2030.”

This will be anchored on, among other initiatives, increased trade between the two countries.

Trade between the two countries, have been increasing at an annualized rate of 18.4 percent in the past decade.

Many business opportunities exist in various sectors, including mining, manufacturing, finance, tourism and hospitality, and education.

Your expertise and partnership in the areas of engineering and technology are valuable to boost Zimbabwe’s industrialization and development agenda.

I am particularly pleased that the Russian Federation has been providing various scholarships to young Zimbabweans in different fields to enable them to contribute to our national development.

These scholarships have helped a lot in strengthening Zimbabwe’s national capabilities, especially in the areas of agriculture, engineering, and technology. I am glad to highlight that a number of our lecturers in Zimbabwe, were trained in Russia.

This support is timeous as Zimbabwe is implementing Education 5.0 whose aim is to expedite the modernization and industrialization of the Zimbabwean economy.

In an endeavor to strengthen the country’s attractiveness to foreign direct investment, Zimbabwe has been undergoing economic reforms.

These have mainly centered on legislative reforms aimed at easing the environment for businesses to thrive in.

In that regard, a number of legislations have been amended and these include the Companies and Other Business Entities Act, the Zimbabwe Investment Authority Act, and the Special Economic Zones Act.

As part of ease-of-doing business reforms, the Zimbabwe Investment and Development Agency (ZIDA) was established to provide a one-stop shop facility for processing potential investments into Zimbabwe.

This has significantly reduced the number of days required to get all the necessary documentation to do business in Zimbabwe to less than 15 days.

We continue to work towards reducing the figure to single digits.

Part of these reforms are being implemented under the National
Development Strategy 1 (NDS1) and the target is sustaining a growth of above 5 percent driven by agriculture, mining, electricity, and manufacturing.

In view of the close ties between our countries we, therefore, invite Russian businesspersons to be part of this exciting transformation of
Zimbabwe.

In order to further cement our economic relations, it is our sincere expectation that more Russian business delegations will come to Zimbabwe through the facilitation of the Russia-Zimbabwe business forum and venture into various areas that include fertilizer manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, heavy vehicle assembly plants and equipment.

The 4th Session of the Zimbabwe-Russia Intergovernmental Commission for Trade, Economic, Scientific, and Technical Cooperation is a clear testimony of the strong cooperation between our two countries.

It is, therefore, my fervent hope that the formation of the Russia-Zimbabwe Business Council (RZBC) which is currently underway, will go a long way in enhancing economic cooperation between our two countries.

We must continue to strengthen our economic ties for the benefit of our people.

Madame Speaker, I have taken time to speak about our political and economic relations. Please allow me to also acknowledge that the ties between our two Parliaments have also gone a notch higher.

In the last year alone, as Zimbabwe, we had the privilege of hosting you Madame Speaker.

In addition, the Speaker of our National Assembly, Hon Advocate Mudenda visited the State Duma of the Russian Federation and was given an opportunity to address the House.

I am here today at your invitation Madame Speaker.

Nothing can graphically highlight the growth of our relations at a Parliamentary level, better than these reciprocal visits.

I urge our two Parliaments, Madame Speaker, to exchange delegations between our various Committees.

By signing Agreements for Cooperation; between the National Assembly of Zimbabwe and the State Duma on 27 September 2022; and between the Senate of Zimbabwe and the Federation Council, signed yesterday, our two Parliaments have further grown closer, and will continue to support each other at international parliamentary fora, such as the International Parliamentary Union (IPU).

Madame Speaker, we share values and principles of equal participation for women in leadership and access to opportunities.

Indeed, this we cherish as part of the steps towards attaining the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030. Madame Speaker you and I, are testimony of our countries’ shared resolve to combat gender discrimination and inequality by recognising and promoting able women to various national positions.

Empowering women does not only reduce poverty but has positive intrinsic repercussions that spread beyond the household level.

When you empower a woman, you have empowered a community.

Unfortunately, women cannot do it alone.

We need support from our male counterpart, to ensure that the formerly marginalized women have a place in the decision-making corridors of our nations.

Indeed, no nation can develop sustainably when more than half of its population has no active role to play in the development discourse.

Madame Speaker, as I conclude, I would like to place emphasis on the role of our two Parliaments to bring bilateral agreements between our two countries to fruition.

Ratification and domestication of the bilateral agreements are critical to ensuring that we gather the much-needed momentum.

Further, in accordance with our oversight responsibility as Parliaments, we must develop appropriate monitoring and evaluation systems to assess progress in the implementation of these accords.

Samora Machel, the former late President of Mozambique, said: “Unity and victory are synonymous.”

True it is, the unity of our two countries has moved us from success to
success.

Our legislatures, however, still have some work to do.

We must relentlessly establish the legal conditions necessary for the success of our bilateral partnerships.

With these words, I once again express my deep gratitude for
having been invited to address this august house.

I thank you.

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