Zimbabwe Moves to Establish Bilateral Ties with Turkey

Zimbabwe is seeking to strengthen bilateral ties with Turkey, presenting varied investment and learning opportunities.

This is contained in the bilateral visit report to Turkey by the Speaker of Parliament of Zimbabwe Advocate Jacob Mudenda and the Parliamentary delegation of the Foreign Affairs and International Trade Committee.

The report was presented in the National Assembly by Foreign Affairs and International Trade chairperson Cde Webster Shamu.

In the summary of the report, Cde Shamu noted Turkey presents a lot of investment opportunities for Zimbabwe while the country can leapfrog into development by adopting the Turkish model.

The Mudenda led committee visited Turkey from July 3 to 11 as part of the Government’s engagement and re-engagement policy and observed that Turkey undertook a radical development path.

Cde Shamu said investment opportunities cut across the whole economic spectrum and there are also possibilities of towns cities in Zimbabwe twinning with Turkish regions.

Cde Shamu explained that “there is increased potential for economic opportunities with Turkey in areas such as tourism, mining, construction, industry, and education. Turkey pledges to undertake bilateral trade and economic cooperation on a win-win basis. Turkey’s development espouses the dignity of hard work and integrity to achieve rapid economic development. In short, Zimbabwe can leverage its development on Turkey’s model of achieving rapid economic growth through sheer hard work, discipline, and patriotic fervor,”

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He said following the country’s legislators’ visit to Turkey, Adv Mudenda also invited his counterpart Professor Mustapha Sentop on a reciprocal visit to Zimbabwe.

According to him, “members of the Zimbabwe-Turkey Inter-Parliamentary Friendship Association are expected to travel to Zimbabwe ahead of the Turkish Speaker of Parliament. The landmark reciprocal visit will be a watershed event at the legislative and national level.”

Cde Shamu said there is a need for the country to increase trade between the two countries saying the existing bilateral relations have not yielded improved economic engagements between the two countries.

Zimbabwe opened its first Embassy in Turkey in 2019 while the European nation opened its office in Harare this month.

“The presiding officers observed that whilst their meeting was a milestone in strengthening bilateral relations, unfortunately, the volume of trade between the two countries was very low, hence the need to promote trade and investment opportunities through such high-level visits.

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They urged the two sides to redouble their efforts towards diversifying the socio-political and economic cooperation between the two countries regardless of the negative effects of the Covid-19 pandemic,”

“In this regard, the following pragmatic recommendations were made towards strengthening the bilateral relations between the two countries: In order to achieve the mandate of enhancing both Inter-Parliamentary Cooperation and bilateral relations between Zimbabwe and Turkey, there is need for the two institutions to work proactively to ensure that the Agreement on Trade and Economic Cooperation between the Republic of Zimbabwe and the Republic of Turkey which was signed in October 2018 is ratified by both sides. Furthermore, all other outstanding MOUs and Agreements should also be signed and ratified.”

He noted that there is an increasing number of students that seek to study in Turkey and the Turkish government has increased scholarships from 20 to 65 per annum.

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Cde Shamu proposed concern that privately sourced scholarships were exposing students to abuse.

“It was proposed that privately sponsored students intending to study in the region should be fully resourced to ensure that they are not forced into unethical behaviour due to financial constraints. The media should be roped in to create this awareness on the dangers of accepting dubious scholarships. There is a need to regulate and provide due scrutiny to scholarship offers made in Zimbabwe by private entities,” said Cde Shamu.

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