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President Mugabe returned home yesterday after a fruitful State visit in Algeria, where he negotiated for some deals to facilitate the accelerated implementation of the national economic blueprint, Zim-Asset.

The President’s foreign policy is also marketing Zimbabwe’s economic policies to different friendly countries with a view to attract investors to form joint ventures with locals.

President Mugabe, who is African Union and Sadc chairman, had a two and half hour meeting with his Algerian counterpart, Mr Abdelaziz Boutflika, on Wednesday at one of the State villas, where the leaders discussed various issues affecting the continent and other regional groupings.

Addressing journalists after the meeting, President Mugabe lauded the cordial relations existing between Zimbabwe and Algeria that date back to the days of the liberation struggle and the fight against brutal apartheid regime in South Africa.

“I come here at the invitation from President Boutflika to visit Algeria for two or three days to discuss bilateral relations as well as regional and continental relations. Precisely these are the areas of our discussions that took place.

“We had friendly discussions and indeed they were, and in respect of our bilateral relations, we discussed some areas of co-operation, the possibility of joint ventures in particular, infrastructure development like roads, bridges and railway line. We discussed the areas of power generation and how we can assist each other,” said President Mugabe.

The Infrastructure and Utilities is one of the key Zim-Asset clusters that seeks to ensure the country has adequate and reliable national assets that facilitate business.

The two leaders also talked about some disturbances in some parts of the continent such as the Western Sahara and the situation in Morocco and how best to deal with them.

“We had positions and how we could assist in a small way,” he said.

Turning to the relations between the two countries, President Mugabe said: “We agreed that we had a duty to consolidate our friendship. I appreciate warm hospitality we received. This friendship will go into the future.”

Algerians have some of the best infrastructure to harness natural gasses and Zimbabwe is keen on partnering them to tap the gas in Lupane in Matabeleland North.

Over the years, the North African country that has vast swathes of desert land, has developed one of the most sophisticated water management systems and state-of-the-art irrigation infrastructure.

Some of the proposed joint partnerships will see Zimbabwe, that has vast water bodies, benefiting and increasing its agricultural output annually by embracing the new water management technologies.

Another Zim-Asset cluster, Value Addition and Beneficiation, will have a major boost as the Algerians are keen on investing in tobacco processing before it is exported.

Reports say businesspeople in Algeria want to establish a cigarette processing plant in Zimbabwe, a move that will see tobacco value surging five times before export.

The President was received by VP Phelekezela Mphoko, Harare Metropolitan provincial minister cde Mirriam Chikukwa, Defence Minister Cde Sydney Sekeramayi and service chiefs.

Source : The Herald