By Martin Kadzere in Sao Paulo, Brazil
Thursday, 18 August 2011
ZIMBABWE has opened a trade and tourism office in the state of Sao Paulo here in Brazil as part of the ongoing efforts to consolidate trade and investment co-operation with the country boasting South America’s largest economy.
Tourism and Hospitality Industry Minister Walter Mzembi, who was leading the Zimbabwean business delegation on a mission to appraise the Brazilian investors on business opportunities existing in
Zimbabwe, said the Sao Paulo office was aimed at co-ordinating trade, investment and tourism activities between Zimbabwe and Brazil.
Vice President Joice Mujuru, whose office has been instrumental in co-ordinating the Brazil business mission, had been expected to open the office later this week.
Zimbabwe’s trade attaché to Brazil, Ms Natai Magadi, and Ms Enivah Mutsau, from the Tourism Ministry, will be full-time trade officers at the office.
“We want to increase trade and investment with Brazil in areas of tourism, mining, agriculture and other economic sectors and opening the office was among our efforts to achieve our objectives,” said Minister Mzembi.
Brazil is an emerging economy and Zimbabwe is hoping to build on the two countries’ solid foundation of friendship and trust to further enhance opportunities that will improve trade and investment in all sectors.
The Government of Zimbabwe will run the trade office through its Brazilian embassy in Brasilia.
On the tourism side, Minister Mzembi said Brazil was a potential source market, which needed to be seriously explored.
The opening of the trade and tourism office was part of the Zimbabwe business mission’s plans that includes engagements to explore areas of co-operation between Zimbabwe and Brazil.
The business mission arose from discussions held between VP Mujuru and Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff following the inauguration of the latter early this year. It was realised that Zimbabwe could benefit from Brazil, the biggest economy in South America, in both trade and investments.
Already, there is a legal framework between the two countries that promotes socio-economic co-operation.
Under the framework, both countries agreed among other issues, to explore co-operation in biodiesel fuels, verification of methane gas deposits in Lupane and the generation of electricity using biogas.
Since the beginning of the meetings last week, the delegations held various meetings with some influential business organisations such as Confederation and National Industries and Federation of Sao Paulo, which immediately expressed interest to invest in ethanol and cotton industries.
The delegation also met Brazilian foreign affairs officials during which Investment Promotion and Economic Development Minister Tapiwa Mashakada requested the Brazilians to extend some lines of credit to the country’s manufacturing sector.
Minister Mzembi and his delegation also discussed areas of co-operation in tourism with his counterpart Mr Pedro indicating that Brazil will lobby support for Zimbabwe to co-host the 2013 UNWTO in Victoria Falls.
Minister Pedro said Brazil would use its influence in Latin America to win support for the two Southern African countries’ joint bid.
The Zimbabwe Tourism Authority also successfully unveiled the new tourism brand “Zimbabwe, A World of Wonders”, which is anchored by the countries seven tourist attractions.
These include the majestic Victoria Falls, Great Zimbabwe, wildlife and nature, the Eastern Highlands, Lake Kariba and the mighty Zambezi River.
The brand, which replaced “Zimbabwe, Africa’s Paradise”, was unveiled in Brasilia and Sao Paulo and the two events were well attended by the Brazilian government officials and various Sadc
In an interview on the sidelines of the tourism brand unveiling event, Zimbabwe Tourism Authority spokesperson Mr Sugar Chagonda said the launch signified the serious interests Zimbabwe has in penetrating the Brazilian market.
“Brazil is an emerging economy with a high tourism and travel competitiveness index and that makes it an ideal destination to benchmark our own tourism products and services,” said Mr Chagonda.
In the recent years, Brazil has become a formidable economic force, and is among a group of countries regarded as the fastest emerging economies, normally referred to as BRICS. Other countries that make up BRICS include Russia, China, India, and South Africa.