Malawi was committed to strengthening relations with Zimbabwe through increased political, economic and social cooperation, visiting Malawi President Joyce Banda has said.
Banda made the remarks during a banquet Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe hosted for her at the State House in Harare on Tuesday evening.
“Malawi and Zimbabwe share a lot political, social and economic history, that is why I did not hesitate to accept the invitation to come for a State visit,” said President Banda.
“Th visit I knew will help me and my country strengthen the bond of friendship that happily exist between the two nations,” she added.
Banda said both countries coming from economic hardships, gives the countries chance to share notes and see how best they can move forward to better lives of its citizens, adding that there is need for the countries to create a conducive environment where trade between the two countries can be enhanced.
“We need to redouble our efforts to diversify our economies, integrate our markets, promote cross border infrastructure to improve our trade, Zimbabwe is Malawi’s second largest trading partner with a total trade volume of about $2Million and we need to find ways of enhancing this,” said Banda.
The Malawi leader also took time to congratulate President Mugabe and the people of Zimbabwe for the endorsement of a new constitution which was approved through a referendum.
Said Banda: “I wish to congratulate the people of Zimbabwe for conducting a free, fair and transparent referendum. These showed a great maturity, spirit of togetherness and resolve to move the country forward regardless of any political difference.”
In his remarks, President Mugabe said the two countries should use the ties that bind them together to spur development and strengthen relations between the countries.
Mugabe also said his government welcomes the construction of a railway line between Mozambique and Malawi.
“We are confident that the project will increase trade and accessibility to world markets for Malawi, Zimbabwe, Mozambique and the rest of Southern Africa.”
President Banda, who is visiting Zimbabwe for the first time since taking over power after the death last year of her predecessor Bingu wa Mutharika, who was a close ally to Mugabe, is expected to officially open the 54th Zimbabwe International Trade Fair in Bulawayo on Friday.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :