Zim to open a commercial consulate in Dubai

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Harare (New Ziana) – Zimbabwe will open a commercial and consulate office in Dubai, the commercial capital of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), primarily to serve potential investors in light of the massive investment interest that the country received at the six-month Expo2020 Dubai, Cabinet resolved on Wednesday.

Zimbabwe, which is among over 190 countries at Expo2020, has attracted massive investor interest in areas including mining, pharmaceuticals, and the agriculture sector.

Early this week, President Emmerson Mnangagwa led a high-powered delegation to the expo where several co-operation and investment deals, including a US$250 million brewery investment between the Agriculture and Rural Development Authority and Indian distiller NV Group, were secured.

To build upon the interest, Cabinet resolved that while Zimbabwe already has an embassy in Abu Dhabi, it would be prudent to open a consulate in Dubai, to serve potential investors.

“Cabinet also wishes to advise the nation that it has been resolved to set up a Commercial and Consulate Office in the Commercial Hub of the United Arab Emirates in Dubai. This will ensure that our citizens in that region are well served, while the investment interest ignited by Zimbabwe’s participation at the World Exposition will be adequately attended to in the national interest,” read part of a post Cabinet briefing.

Expanding, Foreign Affairs and International Trade Minister Frederick Shava said the consulate would help keep the investor momentum gained during the expo.

“The consulate is for us to have a reference point beyond the expo because this expo is finishing at the end of this month but we want to be able to continue communicating with all those who are interested. Our presence there in the form of a consulate in Dubai is extremely important because they will find it easier to reach us than to drive to our embassy in Abu Dhabi,” he said.

“The establishment of the commercial office will stimulate the environment there to do business with Zimbabwe. We believe that with the presence of the trade attaché there and other attaches like the tourism attaché will enhance tourism and business in Zimbabwe.”

To encourage Zimbabwean nationals in the UAE to also invest back home, the Zimbabwe Embassy in UAE would start processing e-passports soon.

Some UAE firms are already hitting the ground running.

For example, officials from DP World, a state-owned UAE logistics infrastructure development company, visited Zimbabwe this month to explore areas where they intend to develop special railway corridors which will enhance trade between Zimbabwe and other countries.

Officials from DP World had met Vice President Constantino Chiwenga when he attended Expo2020 in October last year.

Last year, DP World and Britain’s development finance agency CDC Group announced plans to jointly invest up to $1.72 billion in logistics infrastructure in Africa over the next several years.

Another, Ali Gholami has announced plans to ramp up horticultural imports from Zimbabwe to the UAE.

“We started by importing blueberries, strawberries, raspberries and other types of berries and now we would like to do some potatoes, melons and some other products. On a weekly basis, we import about five tons only, but it will be increased to more than 10 tons soon,” the company said.

In 2019, Zimbabwe exported $1.63 billion worth of goods to the UAE which mainly consisted of precious minerals such as gold and diamonds.

Between 1995 and 2019, exports from Zimbabwe to the UAE increased at an annualised rate of 37.4 percent from $795 000 in 1995 to $1.63 billion in 2019.
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