WASHINGTON DC —
President Robert Mugabe, who is on a five-day state visit to Japan, has pleaded with the East Asian country’s investors to do business with Harare.
Mr. Mugabe arrived in Japan Sunday after a stopover in Singapore where he regularly travels for medical attention.
At a joint press conference Monday with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, according to the Japan Times, President Mugabe invited Japanese companies to invest heavily in his mineral-rich country.
The president said, “Zimbabwe doors are open to the Japanese investors and they should look forward to a mutually rewarding relationship with us.”
In return, Mr. Abe pledged to give Zimbabwe about 5 million dollars to fund a road project. He also added that Japan will assist Zimbabwe in tackling the growing food crisis.
The two leaders are also expected to talk about reforms of the United Nations and the 6th Tokyo International Conference on African Development in Kenya in August. Earlier in the day, President Mugabe and his wife, Grace, met with Japanese Emperor Akihiti and Empress Michiko.
Economists though are warning that Mr. Mugabe’s call for foreign investment in Zimbabwe is being overshadowed by his cabinet’s decision to force foreign-owned companies that are not complying with the Indigenization Act to close shop by April 1st.
The law compels all foreign-owned to surrender a 51% stake to indigenous blacks. Economist Dr. Gift Mugano, a University of Zimbabwe lecture and Senior Economic Advisor to the Government of Zimbabwe under the Adam Smith International Zimbabwe Project, told VOA Studio 7 that Mr. Mugabe’s visit to Japan is significant.