Iran signs economic agreements with Zimbabwe as Raisi ends Africa tour

By Nyasha Chingono

HARARE (Reuters) – Zimbabwe and Iran signed 12 memorandums of understanding on Thursday to strengthen bilateral ties, as Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi wrapped up his three-nation African tour.

Raisi, who visited Kenya and Uganda earlier in the week, met with Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa in Harare.

The 12 MOUs include plans to create a tractor manufacturing plant in Zimbabwe with an Iranian company and a local partner. The two countries also signed co-operation agreements for energy, agriculture, pharmaceuticals, and telecommunications as well as research, science and technology projects.

“We welcome investments in several sectors of our economy,” Mnangagwa told reporters after the signing ceremony. He did not say how much investment Zimbabwe was expecting from Iran.

Making reference to U.S sanctions imposed on Iran and Zimbabwe, Raisi said his country would work hard to forge closer economic ties.

Iran’s trade with Africa will increase to more than $2 billion this year, its foreign ministry said on Saturday, without providing a comparative figure for 2022.

Raisi’s African visit, the first by an Iranian leader since 2013, follows a visit in June to three Latin American countries also saddled with U.S. sanctions.

(Reporting by Nyasha Chingono; Editing by Nelson Banya, Nellie Peyton, Elaine Hardcastle)