Opportunities Arising From Engagement With Africa Must Not Be Ignored

The primary purpose of the trip to Kenya, Uganda and Zimbabwe was to strengthen the country’s strategic depth, the president said
Opportunities Arising From Engagement  With Africa Must Not Be Ignored
Opportunities Arising From Engagement  With Africa Must Not Be Ignored

President Ebrahim Raisi described Africa as a land of opportunities, saying relations with this continent must not be neglected.  
“Unfortunately, over the past year, these relations have received little attention,” he said upon return from a tour of Africa on Thursday, reported. 
He said the primary purpose of his trip to Kenya, Uganda and Zimbabwe was to strengthen the country’s strategic depth, besides expanding ties with African countries, especially in economy and trade. 
Promotion of the country’s food security through facilitating access to fundamental African-produced goods, as well as creating new export markets for Iranian products were pursued during this trip, according to Raisi. 
Supplying raw material and fundamental goods at suitable prices and implementing extra-territorial cultivation programs in these countries were also among the goals of this tour, he added. 
“It was agreed that basic goods needed by Iran be imported through a barter system in exchange for petrochemical products,” he said. 
To improve scientific and technological cooperation, relevant offices were put into operation in the three African countries during this tour, Raisi noted. 
The president said he had good meetings with business people of the African states and agreed to remove obstacles in the way of their cooperation with Iran. 
He stressed that upgrading the level of bilateral ties with these countries will certainly result in closer regional and international cooperation as well as better relations with other African states. 
The Islamic Republic shares similar positions with these countries, including opposition to unilateralism, defending human rights in its true sense, preserving family values and fighting immorality, according to Raisi. 
“Iran believes that the world is not merely confined to a few western states and we aim to have ties with all countries of the world.” 
Tehran places as much value on Africa as it does on the American and Asian continents, he stressed. 


International Partners

Raisi set off on his tour of Africa on Wednesday, setting foot in Kenya at first, where the two countries signed five memorandums of understanding. 
He later moved on to Uganda and signed four other MoUs before leaving for Zimbabwe as the last leg of his tour. 
While in Harare, the president underlined Iran’s will to enhance trade with this African country, as well as cooperation in mining, technical and engineering services, agriculture, science and technology, medical equipment, pharmaceuticals and bartering of goods. 
He noted that Iran and Zimbabwe’s common stances in opposition to unilateralism, extremism, terrorism, separatism and organized crime, as well as support for real human rights, can make the two countries partners non only at bilateral, but also at international level. 
Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa also said Raisi’s trip would have a very important effect on the expansion of relations, calling on Iranian firms to use the capacities of this country in the industry, mining and agriculture sectors. 
He denounced cruel and unilateral American sanctions against Iran, saying that increase in trade exchanges between Tehran and Harare is an effective way to counter this instrument. 
The two countries finally singed 12 MoUs, including plans to create a tractor manufacturing plant in Zimbabwe with an Iranian company and a local partner.
The agreements also involved energy, agriculture, pharmaceuticals, and telecommunications as well as research, science and technology projects among others. 
This was the first visit to the African continent by an Iranian president in 11 years, which sought to pursue Raisi administrations’ policy of boosting ties with friendly and aligned countries. 
Earlier, the first economic cooperation summit of Iran and West African countries was also held in Tehran in March.

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