PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa yesterday applauded the immense contribution of India to Zimbabwe’s economic reconstruction, diplomacy and international politics.
Represented by Patrick Chinamasa, Mnangagwa told the first Diaspora convention for Indians in Harare yesterday that the country’s developmental trajectory will be smoother and softer with support from friends like India, its corporate citizens and its Diaspora.
”I am standing here before a gathering of fellow Zimbabweans who happen to have a historical and cultural connection to India, which we recognise and respect. Indeed, that respect is grounded in the immense contribution and cooperation that this community has made over the years to this country in business, in politics, in diplomacy, in health, and in academia,” Mnangagwa said.
He thanked men and women of Indian origin who has served the country with distinction, and singled out Industry and Commerce deputy minister Raj Modi.
“Of course, you all know our current deputy minister of Industry and Commerce, Honourable Modi is also doing an excellent job promoting business relations with India.
“I wish to applaud investors such as Varun beverages and Surface Wilmar that came to Zimbabwe and have now established themselves,” Mnangagwa said referring to Indian beverages firm Varun which has invested in a $30 million Pepsi bottling plant in Zimbabwe and Surface Wilmar which is one of the largest cooking oil refinery companies here which also manufactures soaps and oil refinery by-products.
“The Government of Zimbabwe is committed to ensuring that all these investments and other investments are secure and protected,” Mnangagwa said.
“We want to see them flourish and be good ambassadors carrying back the message of trade and investment in Zimbabwe.”
The president said SMEs form the backbone of Indian business and entrepreneurship and indeed most of the businesses run by members of the Indian Diaspora are in the SME sector.
He said India was both a potential market for Zimbabwean goods, as well as a source of investment and technology.
“There is a huge opportunity for Indian business which, taken in its tide, will see this growing economy in the world establishing a foothold in Zimbabwe in manufacturing and provision of services for the entire African region,” said the president.
Indian ambassador to Zimbabwe Rungsung Masakui said engagement with the Indian Diaspora is one cornerstone of his country’s foreign policy.
“The government of India has been in touch with the Indian Diaspora and is proud of the immense contribution they have made to developing countries and their effort to establish themselves in business and other vast areas,” Masakui said.
The ambassador expressed gratitude to the government of Zimbabwe in allowing the Indian community to exist within Zimbabwe.