Arts Correspondent Cultural exchange programmes are crucial for economic development and cementing relations between Zimbabwe and China, Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa has said.

Minister Mutsvangwa said this at the sixth edition of Dreamstar Zimbabwe Talent Show finale held in Harare.

“Arts contribute significantly to the economic development of the nation as it is regarded as one of the export commodities in Zimbabwe,” he said.

“Zimbabwe is regarded as a country with a strong creative artistic flair and wishes to continuously export its art and talent to China.”

Minister Mutsvangwa said the competition gave a platform for diverse cultures to come together, share and learn from each other.

She said Government will continue to open the airwaves and will soon issue more television licences where such arts and culture content will be needed.

The Information Minister also hailed the initiative saying it will go a long way in empowering young and talented artistes.

She said they were looking forward to hosting Chinese arts outfits in the country.

“Besides providing creative spaces and platforms the competition also offers possibilities for our youths to be transformed into active and appreciative citizens as they consciously observe their culture, pass it on and still learn from other cultures.

“I am informed that this competition has given birth to Dreamstar Arts Troupe, which has toured several cities in China over the past three years and were hosted by China’s Ministry of Culture.

“My ministry wishes to host a similar Chinese group since such cultural exchange programmes by our youths demonstrate our robust relations with China,” she said.

Speaking at the same occasion, Chinese Ambassador to Zimbabwe Mr Guo Shaochun said the cordial relationship between the two nations was yielding fruits.

We as Chinese Embassy, we highly appreciate the cordial relations of friendship and cooperation that exists between China & Zimbabwe;

The culture and people to people exchanges are a pillar of our relations as nations and cooperation in music, dance and arts have been dynamic and productive

Ambassador Guo said many talents have been unearthed through the programme and about 200 young Zimbabwean artists had travelled to his country for various events, festivals and cultural exchange programmes.

He said this year China awarded scholarships to six candidates, who were winners in the previous editions of the talent search show.

“We will continue working together to further enhance all levels of exchanges between our people, especially the young,” said Ambassador Guo.

He said China was fostering good relations and co-operation with African countries under the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation and the Belt & Road Initiative.