By Josephine Mugiyo, Diplomatic Correspondent
Zimbabwe is working to enhance cooperation with Japan, amid calls for the country to position itself to attract investment from Japanese firms.
This comes as Zimbabwe joins other African countries for the Tokyo international conference on African development (TICAD) to be held in Tunisia this weekend.
Close to 50 countries are expected to be part of the conference which is led by Japan in partnership with the United Nations, World Bank and the African Union.
Zimbabwe’s Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the African Union, Ambassador Taonga Mushayavanhu, who is in Tunisia to attend the conference, said the meeting provides a platform for the country and fellow African nations to learn from Japanese experiences.
“We want to benefit from Japan’s experience and also to benefit from Japan’s experience and benefit from Japan’s ability to raise resources from its own means and through organisations like the World Bank. The other issue is we will take advantage of Japan’s networks around the world in terms of leveraging resources,” he said.
Focusing on Zimbabwe and Japan relations, Ambassador Mushayavanhu said the Asian nation has over the years been working with Zimbabwe on several development projects.
“We are looking forward to working with Japan in the Save River bridge. Japan has done a lot of small dams around Zimbabwe’s provinces. What we need to do now is to take advantage of those small dams and construction irrigation projects. This is what Minister Masuka has always been saying that we need to have irrigation projects and so having already started this is something we can work with Japan.”
Zimbabwe can also tap into Japanese technological know-how in improving agriculture.
Ambassador Mushayavanhu further highlighted that Zimbabwe needs to position itself to benefit from investments by Japanese companies.
“In fact, this is one of the important areas of TICAD. When they put money on the table, there is always a portion reserved for Japanese companies investing in Africa. So, there are prospects for Japanese firms coming into Africa. So, there are prospects for Japanese firms coming into Africa and then thereafter there are prospects for trade between Africa and Japan and Zimbabwe in particular. So, what we need to do as country is to position ourselves to attract Japanese investment so that the companies take advantage of the money to invest in Zimbabwe and in Terms of trade it’s almost the same thing.”
TICAD was launched in 1993 by the Japanese government with the aim of promoting African development though facilitation of key partnerships.