Iran-Africa conference an eye opener: VP Chiwenga

VP Chiwenga

Zimbabwe has benefited immensely from its participation at the Second edition of the Iran-Africa International Economic Conference and will use the experience to advance economic growth, Vice President Dr Constantino Chiwenga has said.

VP Chiwenga, who is already back home, led Zimbabwe’s delegation to the conference, which ends today.

On the sidelines of the conference, VP Chiwenga met Iran President Ebrahim Raisi, several senior government officials, public and private companies. The new thrust of looking for new investment source markets is premised on President Mnangagwa’s foreign policy of Zimbabwe being “a friend to all and enemy to none”.

Speaking to journalists before leaving for home, VP Chiwenga said his visit was an eye opener, particularly Iran’s ability to successfully champion national economic development on the back of illegal economic sanctions by the West.

“We have benefited quite a lot by attending the Second Iran-Africa International Economic Conference and to see what Iran has gone through since their great revolution and what they are producing in all sectors of the economy,” said VP Chiwenga.

“You talk of agriculture products, food processing, advances in the medical field, industry and what we are calling industry at home is what they are calling their small and medium enterprises (SMES) here.

“They have developed to such an extent that when these SMEs come on board, they finance them and they have got a bank which finances such.

“They also give them funds for export; so it’s an industry, which means they have now upgraded their SMEs to almost a medium industry.”

VP Chiwenga said Iran has also developed its education system, where for instance, health education is separated from others.

“They have 68 universities dealing with training of medical staff, they have also separated their vocational training skills.

“Remember, it’s a county under economic sanctions just like us and they have developed on their own. Their coming to Africa or any part of the world is not at a cost, but an investment,” he said.

VP Chiwenga said the Iranians have a mantra of saying they build their own country, no one else can come to build it for them, which is the equivalent of Zimbabwe’s “Nyika inovakwa nevene vayo/ Ilizwe lakhiwa ngabanikazi balo”.

“We are the builders of Zimbabwe as we were the liberators of Zimbabwe. All that Zimbabwe requires now is to be united and have national interest first before personal interest,” said VP Chiwenga.


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