THE Republic of Türkiye and Zimbabwe have begun making concrete moves to entrench economic collaboration after the visiting Turkish Foreign Affairs Minister, Mr Mevlüt Çavusoglu, yesterday met Acting President Dr Constantino Chiwenga in Harare to present the interests of various companies from his country who are keen to pump millions of dollars into the local economy.
In his delegation Minister Çavusoglu had representatives from some Turkish companies who were in the country on an investment scouting mission.
Areas identified for investment include infrastructure development while the two countries pledged to enhance co-operation in the fields of education, agriculture, mining, transport and health.
The Republic of Türkiye (formerly known as Turkey) also threw its weight behind Zimbabwe’s bid for the 2027 United Nations Security Council seat.
Speaking after meeting Acting President Chiwenga, Minister Çavusoglu said the amount of trade between the two countries, which was currently around US$35 million, was too low given the huge potential for growth.
Other areas discussed include having Turkish Airlines plying the Harare-Victoria Falls route as well as direct flights between Harare/Victoria Falls and the Turkish administrative capital, Ankara, which will go a long way in unlocking vast mutual economic benefits for the two countries.
“I am honoured to be received by Acting President Dr Constantino Chiwenga today. We reviewed all the aspects of our relations, how we can enhance our economic relations,” Minister Çavusoglu said.
“Trade should be increased, bilateral trade currently is only about US$35 million. Comparing the potential of the two countries, US$35 million is nothing so we have to increase it.
“Economic co-operation has been one of the priorities today. We need to establish joint economic co-operation meetings and we need to conclude and sign the agreements and MOUs (Memorandum of Understanding) that we have been negotiating to strengthen the legal basis of our relations.
“We need also to encourage Turkish companies to invest in Zimbabwe and also to undertake the infrastructure projects that Zimbabwe is planning to realise in the country. Turkish companies I can tell you, are so keen to invest here,” said Minister Çavusoglu.
He said they also discussed co-operation in education, agriculture and the possibility of Turkish airlines flying into Harare and Victoria Falls, health co-operation, and possible reciprocal visits at the highest level — the Presidency.
Minister Çavusoglu said they had agreed to work closely to further relations in many other areas.
“If any Zimbabwean company is interested in doing business in Türkiye, we will
do our best to support the company,” he said.
Minister Çavusoglu said some of the products in demand from Zimbabwe by the Turkish market included but were not limited to agricultural and mining produce like tobacco, cotton, gold, lithium and diamonds.
Foreign Affairs and International Trade Minister Ambassador Frederick Shava said they are hoping to deepen economic co-operation between the Republic of Türkiye and Zimbabwe.
“For Zimbabwe this is an era for economic diplomacy and this is why Minister Çavusoglu was saying we are going to have companies from Türkiye investing in Zimbabwe.
“He mentioned quite a few of them who are likely to invest here in infrastructure and we are happy that some of the representatives of these companies are in his delegation,” said Minister Shava.
“They are keen to identify where they can participate particularly in the development of conference facilities and hotels and also in the refurbishment of our sports facilities like the National Sports Stadium so that it qualifies when it comes to FIFA rules and regulations of sporting fields.”