As the new President of Zimbabwe in 2017, Emmerson Mnangagwa began a diplomatic-offensive campaign to reach out to the international community on business.
In 2018, he received an invitation by His Highness Sheikh bi Hamad al-Thani to visit Qatar as they were seeking collaboration and relations with Zimbabwe. A visit, marking his third official state visit as the new President.
This tour saw the signing of various economic pacts between the two countries, both intensifying forecasts in the different political, economic and investments grounds of conjoined cooperation.
Even though agreements and memorandum of understanding on aviation had been signed before, the visit also ultimately sought to lure Qatar Airways into the airs of Zimbabwe as a way of increasing trade between the two countries.
Presenting his credentials to the President last week, new Qatar ambassador Zimbabwe Tariq bin Ali Faraj Al-Ansari fostered the agreements that were seeded in 2018, saying that the Middle East country was seeking to diversify its economy by looking for opportunities in trade, mining, livestock and the expansion of tourism.
“We are going to explore many opportunities of investments, of trade between the chambers of commerce in the areas of livestock, agriculture and important minerals because Zimbabwe is rich with these opportunities.”
“My country depends so much on diversification of income. Our main areas are oil, gas and fossil fuel but, we have the policy to diversify our sources of income. That why we have the Qatar Investment Authority and other agencies focusing on mining, real estate, tourism and air service,” said the Ambassador.
He further stated that “we are opening soon, a direct flight of Qatar Airways from Doha to Harare. This flight would encourage a lot of trade, tourism and movement between the two countries.”
Yesterday, Qatar Airways landed its inaugural flight at the Robert Mugabe International Airport to mark the beginning of three weekly flights connecting Zimbabwe and Qatar with a short pit stop in Lusaka.
Welcoming the flight at the airport, Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality Minister, Nqobozotha Mangaliso Ndlovu said the coming of Qatar Airways is a sign of hope for aviation and tourism sector in Zimbabwe.
“The country tourism sector has been given a shot in the arm by Qatar Airways, arguably the best airline in the world as it added destination Zimbabwe to its itinerary,” said Minister Ndlovu.
“On behalf of Qatar Airways, it gives me great pleasure to welcome Harare to our network and connect you home with ours. To commemorate our inaugural flight, Zimbabwe’s own son Captain Maxwell Chikava brought in the first flight from Doha to Harare,” said Hendrik Du Preez, Vice President Africa- Qatar Airways.
“It’s not by accident that we have come to Zimbabwe but, we are here to help the country realize its potential with respect to tourism and other industries as well,” he further stated.
The new line joins 15 other international flights to Harare and joins the country with more than 140 destinations across the Qatar Airways network. Despite the reeling effects of Covid-19 on all industries, the availability of airline transport cannot be underestimated on rebounding tourism in Zimbabwe.
This was also a strategic move for the Middle East country, which will be hosting the majestic 2022 World Cup Tournament.