Harare – Malawi and Zimbabwe have pledged to strengthen bilateral ties and refocus areas of social and economic co-operation following talks between the leaders of the two countries.
Malawi’s President Lazarus Chakwera was in Zimbabwe on a state visit between Wednesday and Thursday, affording the leaders of the nations an opportunity to bolster relations.
At a state banquet he hosted for his counterpart on Wednesday evening, Zimbabwe’s President Emmerson Mnangagwa said, “Your visit affords us an opportunity to refocus our co-operation in the areas of trade, agriculture, mining and social services. Zimbabwe is ready to host the next session of the Joint Permanent Commission to enhance our socio-economic collaboration and identify new areas of co-operation.
“It is important that we leverage on the natural resources within our countries to grow our economies and improve the quality of life of our people,” he said.
In line with the SADC Industrialisation Strategy and in the context of the African Continental Free Trade Area, President Mnangagwa said Malawi and Zimbabwe should enhance private sector business relations with particular focus on small and medium-sized enterprises.
“The ongoing consultations between our officials to establish a Zimbabwe-Malawi Business Forum to facilitate increased trade cooperation should be speedily concluded. It is commendable that Malawian companies always exhibit at our Zimbabwe International Trade Fair.
“I challenge more Zimbabwean companies to equally participate at different expos hosted in Malawi including the Takulandirani Tourism Indaba, for mutual benefit,” President Mnangagwa said.
In interview just before his departure on Thursday afternoon, President Chakwera – who was elected into office this year – said he felt honoured to be accepted by his fellow leaders in the region.
He went on: “(Relations with Zimbabwe) will great stronger, like the President said yesterday. We will resuscitate certain things that had stalled or even died because we are just but one people and our fight is a common fight.”