Mukudzei Chingwere Herald Reporter
Indonesia has stepped up its interest in investing in Zimbabwe with the southeast Asian country yesterday dispatching its Coordinating Minister for Maritime and Investment Affairs Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan to lay the groundwork for investment.
Minister Pandjaitan first met President Mnangagwa yesterday morning after which he met a Government delegation led by Acting President Dr Constantino Chiwenga.
The meetings centred on Indonesia’s interest in doing business in Zimbabwe which comes on the back of an investment charm offensive initiated by President Mnangagwa under which Zimbabwe is open for business strategy.
The Asian economic giant first showed interest in investing locally when Acting President Chiwenga last year attended the Sector Minister’s Meeting on Sanitation and Water for All in Jakarta, Indonesia.
Indonesia is a rising economic power now classified as a newly industrialised nation. It is the largest economy in southeast Asia and the 17th largest in world.
On the sidelines of the Jakarta meeting, Dr Chiwenga met Indonesian authorities which included the country’s Vice President Ma’ruf Amin, on whom he impressed that Zimbabwe was a safe destination for international capital with huge potential.
“We have the delegation from the Republic of Indonesia led by the Coordinating Minister for Maritime and Investment Affairs Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan and also here they are accompanied by the Ambassador of Indonesia to Zimbabwe Dewa Sastrawan,” said the Acting President.
“They have come to strengthen the cooperation between our two countries, in a number of areas from agriculture, health, tourism, mining and our general relationship which we have developed over a number of years.
“That is why the Minister has come now to concretise on the areas which we have discussed. I was in Indonesia in May last year and we discussed a number of areas and we agreed on a number of areas.
“For instance, in the health area we are looking at our pharmaceutical companies to jointly work together and be able to produce medicines together, in Zimbabwe for the benefit of Zimbabweans,” said Acting President Chiwenga.
Minister Pandjaitan emphasised that they are looking at starting implementation of the agreed terms as early as next month.
“I met this morning President (Mnangagwa) and this is a follow-up on the meeting in the morning, to go down to the concrete things so we agreed to form a taskforce.
“I think the Ambassador from the Zimbabwe side and my deputy will set up a meeting in Jakarta on the 10th of February. We would like to move very quickly on these issues,” said Minister Pandjaitan.
During Dr Chiwenga’s visit to Indonesia, the two countries agreed to collaborate in health, transport, agriculture and infrastructure development.
A Memoranda of Understanding covering these areas has since been prepared and shared with the Indonesian Embassy in Harare.
Indonesian company Bio Farma and NatPharm have shared a draft Memorandum of Understanding which is expected to be signed next month, and Minister Pandjaitan’s visit to Zimbabwe is expected to expedite the process of implementation.
Private sector companies have also been interacting and doing business together, and the engagements are expected to deepen collaborations and improve trade between the two countries.