President Emmerson Mnangagwa will this week meet Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on the sidelines of the Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD), a major engagement set to unlock mutually beneficial opportunities between Harare and Tokyo.
The three-day TICAD summit, which begins on Wednesday in Yokohama, has become a prime global platform through which international stakeholders join forces to promote Africa’s development.
Japan is the third largest economy in the world after the United States and China, and is also a member of the Group of Seven (G7) nations, from which Zimbabwe is seeking a financial package to clear arrears owed to international finance institutions.
G7 – made up of the world’s seven most advanced economies as described by the IMF – consists of the United States, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United Kingdom.
The Japanese embassy’s counsellor to Zimbabwe, Mr Kenichi Kasahara ,told The Sunday Mail that Zimbabwe will need “international help” during its reform process, which Japan is willing to provide.
“The topmost point is that the President himself, President Mnangagwa, is going to Japan and he will meet Prime Minister (Shinzo) Abe. We are actually arranging a bilateral meeting to be held on the sidelines of the summit.
“Sending a delegation headed by the President himself is an advantage in terms of TICAD.
“Zimbabwe will definitely be known; if the delegation meets the Japanese side. They can certainly impress their counterparts with their background and potential,” he said.
The indaba, he said, will likely have potential benefits for the local economy as it presents an opportunity for the country to get international support to clear its obligations to international finance institutions.
Zimbabwe owes US$2,5 billion to multilateral institutions, of which the World Bank is owed US$1,5 billion, African Development Bank US$702 million, European Investment Bank US$309 million and other multilaterals US$74 million.
As at the end of June 2019, the country’s total bilateral debt amounted to US$5,5 billion, with Paris Club creditors accounting for US$3,5 billion and non-Paris Club US$1,6 billion.
Mr Kasahara said: “I believe that TICAD can be the thrusting element in terms of development of Zimbabwe’s economy.