Zimbabwe loses to SA

After failing to clinch an aviation pact which would have allowed Malaysian Airlines to fly to Harare, the Kuala Lumpur government signed one with South Africa on June 18. The two countries are now discussing a maritime agreement to establish direct shipping links.

Malaysia and South Africa will initially operate two rotations a week each between Kuala Lumpur and Johannesburg ending a 30-year ban by Malaysia on travel to South Africa.

Air Zimbabwe has been dillydallying in reaching an agreement with Malaysian Airlines despite several visits to Malaysia by senior government officials Who, it appeared, wanted to see more trade between the two countries.

Confusion at the national airline may be due to the fact that it has no head. Things have been stagnant since Fungai Musara was dismissed as general manager. Transport Minister, Dennis Norman, even said nothing has changed at the airline except its uniform.

There has also been speculation that the pact failed because some officials wanted kickbacks which the Malaysians were not prepared to pay.

Malaysia and Zimbabwe have signed an agreement to boost trade between the two countries with businessmen trading without paying or receiving foreign currency. The agreement is quite appropriate for Zimbabwe because of its foreign currency constraints which are presently stalling the economic reform programme.

Malaysia already has a similar agreement with Zimbabwe's neighbours, Botswana and Mozambique.

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