ASTANA – The African nation of Zimbabwe wants to use Kazakhstan as a model in its bid to modernize, President Emmerson Mnangagwa said on Monday during his first official visit to this Central Asian republic.
“Zimbabwe is currently in the same stage (of development) that Kazakhstan was in 20 years ago, so it was important for us to visit this friendly country and learn about its experience in the last two decades,” Mnangagwa said after meeting with Kazakh counterpart Nursultan Nazarbayev.
Mnangagwa took no questions from reporters and made no mention of the recent outbreak of violent protests in Zimbabwe. He announced at the weekend that he had canceled a trip to attend the Jan. 22-25 World Economic Forum in Davos in order to return home.
In Astana, Mnangagwa said Nazarbayev was able to find a path to development for his country without the need to copy anyone’s steps.
The African leader expressed his admiration for the way in which Kazakhstan manages maritime traffic “without having access to open seas,” and said he hoped his country could become a kind of logistics center for the transit of goods heading to South Africa.
Mnangagwa, who arrived in Kazakhstan after visiting Russia and Belarus, said Zimbabwe, afflicted by Western sanctions for decades, needed to implement reforms in order to “industrialize its economy,” noting that his country lacks the know-how, technology and financing to make full use of and derive benefit from its natural resources.
Nazarbayev said both countries were similar in agriculture and natural resources, and that they needed to “work on processing and increasing the added value of our agricultural products.”
The Kazakh president added that Kazakh companies could participate in joint projects for the extraction of natural resources in Zimbabwe and cooperate in the modernization of the logistics and transport networks.