‘Zambia, Zim tensions threaten local economy’

This shows that Zambia is a major source of raw materials for local industry as well as a market for local businesses.

Last year, Zimbabwe and Zambia enjoyed trade valued at US$388,11 million between them.

According to the Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency, the country imported goods worth US$245, 76 million from Zambia and exported products worth US$142, 35 million to the neighbouring country.

This shows that Zambia is a major source of raw materials for local industry as well as a market for local businesses.

But during a recent state visit to Russia, Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa made remarks that experts said could stir diplomatic tensions between the nations.

“The West has just begun consolidating its power in Zambia, our next neighbour. You know, there was a time when Zambia and Zimbabwe were one, called Northern and Southern Rhodesia. It was made by the British, but they are now separate. And the Americans are consolidating their power in that country, both in terms of security and in terms of financial support to Zambia to make sure that we feel lonely,” Mnangagwa said.

“But that will not change us, because we have taken a course as a people that we feel we want to be independent and we will choose our friends ourselves. And besides, we are independent today because most of us in the leadership trained here during our war of liberation. We got our independence because we are supported by yourselves here, and we don’t forget that history, and you don’t forget about us.”

He went on to tell Russian President Vladimir Putin that they needed external support, especially in national and food security.

South African economist Dawie Roodt said it was “unnecessary” of Mnangagwa to have made such comments.

“It is unnecessary for a president from Zimbabwe now to make these sorts of comments. You want to work with the countries around you and you want to build economies and trade between the countries,” he said.

“We have got the African Free Trade Agreement as an example, as an attempt to get African countries to work together and to create unnecessary tension like this, I don't think it's good.”

A leading Zambian business member organisation said: “Let’s not amplify the situation. Zambia and Zimbabwe are Siamese twins and we will continue on that path”.

When reached for comment, Zambian Ambassador to Zimbabwe Derick Livune said they were unsure of the authenticity of Mnangagwa’s remarks.

“We have no comment because we don’t have information as the circulations were in the social media blogs. We are still not sure of the authenticity of the same,” he said.

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