ALGIERS, March 26 — Algeria will soon dispatch a team of experts to Zimbabwe to explore areas of co-operation, says Algerian Prime Minister Abdelmalik Sellal.

Speaking after meeting Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe who is on a three-day State visit, he added: “We have agreed to send a large team of experts to Zimbabwe to discuss various areas of co-operation. Later on we will convene our bilateral commission in October in Algiers to deepen cooperation in areas of trade, energy and industry.”

Officials said the two Had agreed to explore co-operation in infrastructure development with special focus on energy, water and agriculture. On energy, the two countries would focus on developing hydro-electric power in Zimbabwe as well as exploitation of methane gas in Lupane.

Emphasis would be on ensuring Zimbabwe produced excess electricity to export into the region, which is experiencing shortages. On water development, Zimbabwe is focusing on irrigation infrastructure in the face of recurring droughts. Zimbabwe was, thus, trying to interest Algeria into dam construction.

Algeria has made significant strides in agriculture, particularly irrigation. The officials said President Mugabe asked for Algerian assistance to help the country develop capacity to add value to its resources, particularly minerals and tobacco.

Beneficiation is one of the key pillars of the country’s economic blueprint, the Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation.

The team of Algerian experts is expected in Zimbabwe next month, to coincide with the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair, the country’s biggest industrial show. The officials said the team would comprise experts in energy, industrial technologies and agriculture as well as entrepreneurs who want to invest in Zimbabwe.

Algeria is moving away from relying on traditional Western markets, and focusing on the African market instead.

Findings of the team of experts would feed into the Joint Commission which has been dormant since its establishment in 2004. President Mugabe also requested Algeria to double the 40 scholarships that it offers Zimbabwe every year, a request Sellal agreed to on condition that the bursaries focused on energy and industrial studies.