Kenyan President Praises Zimbabwe's Economic Reforms at Trade Fair Opening

Kenyan President Ruto lauds Zimbabwe's economic reforms, including a new gold-backed currency, and calls for lifting of sanctions, signaling growing regional support for Zimbabwe's economic revival.

Olalekan Adigun
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Kenyan President Praises Zimbabwe's Economic Reforms at Trade Fair Opening

Kenyan President Praises Zimbabwe's Economic Reforms at Trade Fair Opening

Kenyan President William Ruto lauded Zimbabwe's economic recovery and reform agenda, including the introduction of a new gold-backed currency called the ZiG, during his speech at the opening of the 64th Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF) in Bulawayo on Friday. Ruto, who is on a two-day visit to Zimbabwe, expressed strong support for the country's readmission into the Commonwealth of Nations and the lifting of illegal sanctions imposed by Western nations.

In his address, Ruto stated that the courageous choices made by the Zimbabwean government, under the leadership of President Emmerson Mnangagwa, constitute a "radical economic recovery, revitalization, and reform agenda aimed at steering the nation towards prosperity and sustainability." He specifically highlighted the introduction of the ZiG as compelling proof of Zimbabwe's intent to usher in a new era of economic transformation by leveraging its untapped reserves of precious metals like gold, platinum, and lithium.

The Kenyan leader acknowledged the challenges Zimbabwe has faced, including the illegal economic sanctions, but noted the country's tenacity and advancements in key sectors such as agriculture, infrastructure development, and mining. Ruto expressed confidence in Zimbabwe's commitment to transforming its potential into sustainable prosperity, citing the government's coherent vision for economic recovery and reform.

Why this matters: Ruto's endorsement of Zimbabwe's economic reforms and the ZiG currency is significant, as it signals growing regional support for the country's efforts to revive its economy and reintegrate into the global community. The removal of sanctions and readmission into the Commonwealth could further boost Zimbabwe's economic prospects and attract foreign investment.

During his visit, Ruto also secured Zimbabwe's support for Raila Odinga's bid for the African Union Commission chairmanship, with Kenya presenting its candidature for the position for the 2025-2028 term. The two countries signed nine Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) in various fields and discussed opportunities for increased trade and investment.

The ZITF, an annual event showcasing trade and industry from Zimbabwe and across the globe, attracted thousands of visitors and exhibitors from various sectors and countries. Over 30 Chinese companies participated in the fair, signaling the growth of trade relations between China and Zimbabwe, with bilateral trade reaching a record $3.12 billion in 2023.

President Mnangagwa praised Ruto for his stance on sanctions imposed on African countries, noting that the Kenyan leader had spoken up for Zimbabwe at the United Nations. The two leaders emphasized the importance of fostering trade relations and exploring avenues for mutual economic growth, with the trade fair acting as a platform for strengthening bilateral ties between Kenya and Zimbabwe.</p

Key Takeaways

  • Kenyan President Ruto lauded Zimbabwe's economic reforms, including a new gold-backed currency.
  • Ruto expressed support for Zimbabwe's readmission into the Commonwealth and lifting of sanctions.
  • Ruto acknowledged Zimbabwe's challenges but noted its progress in key sectors like agriculture and mining.
  • Ruto's endorsement signals regional support for Zimbabwe's economic revival and reintegration efforts.
  • Kenya and Zimbabwe signed 9 MoUs and discussed increased trade, with China-Zimbabwe trade reaching $3.12B in 2023.