President Mnangagwa yesterday saluted India and the Republic of Korea for standing with Zimbabwe in the fight against Covid-19 after receiving medicines, personal protective equipment (PPEs), testing kits, face masks among other items aimed at curbing the spread of the pandemic.
India donated a consignment of goods worth over US$4 million which include 17 critical cold chain items of medicines worth US$350 000, 1 000 tonnes of rice, industrial machines at the Indo-Zim Technology Centre worth US$2,92 million and 10 ambulances which will be handed over next month.
The Republic of Korea (South Korea) donated Covid-19 testing kits worth about US$300 000 and 100 000 face masks.
President Mnangagwa expressed gratitude for the donations by the two countries, saying they would go a long way in mitigating the spread of the pandemic and also strengthening Zimbabwe’s relations with the two countries.
Vice President Dr Constantino Chiwenga, Vice President Kembo Mohadi, several Cabinet ministers and senior Government officials, attended the handover ceremony
“I am here to express my deep appreciation and gratitude for the donations which you have extended to Zimbabwe. I am aware that this is not the first time to make donations to Zimbabwe relating to the fight against Covid-19. You have shown compassion by coming to our assistance in other areas such as education, agriculture, commerce and industry.
“We are happy as Zimbabweans that our relations continue to grow from strength to strength,” said President Mnangagwa.
He also commended the Republic of Korea for standing with Zimbabwe despite itself facing the Covid-19 challenge.
“Despite the fact that the Republic of Korea suffered the impact of Covid-19, your Government rose to the challenge and within a short period, you were able to bring down the transmissions of Covid-19.
“I am aware that there is a resurgence but I know that you have the capacity to deal with the resurgence in your country. Despite that challenge, you have been able to think of us Zimbabwe. We are a small economy, a developing economy.
“We do not have the capacities which many countries do have in terms of the health infrastructure to fight the pandemic. We feel lucky that our friends with resources have come forward and you have assisted us to mitigate the impact of the pandemic.
“We the people of Zimbabwe, are deeply touched by the compassion which you have shown to us.”
Turning to India, President Mnangagwa said the Asian country stood with Zimbabwe even during the liberation struggle.
“There are several consignments that have come from India to assist us in our fight to reduce the impact of Covid-19 in Zimbabwe,” he said.
President Mnangagwa commended the Government of India for containing the spread of Covid-19.
“I am happy to hear that it is now flattening and the Government of India has proceeded to do research in order to bring out vaccines that will assist to fight the pandemic.
“I have no doubt that the spirit that India, in particular the Prime Minister of India, my brother (Narendra) Modi, has towards Zimbabwe, with the success of research on the vaccine, I have no doubt that Zimbabwe is in your mind also to assist with regards to fighting and mitigating the impact of Covid-19,” he said.
President Mnangagwa also hailed the donation of rice received from the Indian Government to mitigate food shortages in the country.
“You have gone further to recognise that for three consecutive years, we had a drought in the country and the consignment of 1 000 tonnes of rice is not the first time. This is happening for many times and this is coming at a critical time. Zimbabwe is going through a very hard period in terms of food security.”
He said the country had put in place measures to ensure food sufficiency by constructing a number of dams for irrigation purposes.
“We have instituted agricultural strategy programmes to make our country food sufficient by introducing measures which we think will make us survive during the period of drought.
“We have constructed many dams and produced more irrigation schemes in the country so that we have enough hectarage under irrigation to produce enough grain whether climate change brings about drought or not. We are confident that we will succeed in that regard,” he said.
India has also extended US$200 million to support power generation at Hwange Thermal Power Station.
“I was advised that the process is going on now and we have no doubt that with that support, we should have excess energy at the end of that exercise,” he said
Republic of Korea ambassador to Zimbabwe Mr Do Bong Kae said his country would cement the bilateral relations existing between the two countries.
“The Government of the Republic of Korea is pleased to provide Zimbabwe with Covid-19 testing kits worth about US$300 000. Korea also donated 100 000 face masks. We need to collaborate towards the fight against the pandemic.
“Korea is also working towards reducing the transmission of HIV and Aids from mother to child in three African countries, Zimbabwe included,” he said.
He commended the Government of Zimbabwe for managing to reduce the spread of the pandemic compared to other countries.
“I would like to acknowledge that Zimbabwe has managed to keep the spread of Covid-19 relatively low compared to other neighbouring countries.
“I would like to commend the Covid-19 task force in Zimbabwe for working tirelessly towards the fight against the spread of the pandemic,” he said.
Indian Ambassador to Zimbabwe Masakui Rungsung said his country was committed to cooperating with Zimbabwe in the fight against the spread of the pandemic.
“I am happy that the fifth consignment of medicines has arrived from the Indian Government for donation to the Government and the people of Zimbabwe.”
He said India was now working towards development of vaccines as it intensified the fight against the pandemic.
On the support to industry, Ambassador Rungsung said India had also donated machines at the Indo-Zim Technology Centre.
The US$2,92 million worth of machines already in Zimbabwe were awaiting technical experts from India to commission them.
The machines would be instrumental in supporting the downstream small industries thereby creating jobs.