President Robert Gabriel Mugabe, Africa and the world’s most travelled head of state will visit Mali in north western Africa following an invitation from the country’s president Mr Ibrahim Boubacar Keita.

This came after a closed door meeting yesterday in Mugabe’s hotel room on the sidelines of the AU Summit currently going on in Rwanda, Kigali.

The visit will be Mugabe’s second trip to Mali after his trip in 2015.

He is travelling there with the hope of getting some trade deals done with the impoverished desert nation.

Zimbabwe is likely to gain very little from a struggling country like Mali that is hoping to make some profit in Zimbabwe’s mismanaged land based resources.

To give a clear picture, Mali is one of the poorest countries in the world, ranking 178 out of 182 countries in the 2009 UNDP Human Development Index.

Mugabe is over the moon that another long flight is already on the horizon.

“Well, first, we are good friends,” said President Mugabe.

“I visited Mali as you know. He(Boubacar Keita) was finding out from me whether I can come again and I said yes, I am prepared to come again backed by my everlasting respect for one of our founding fathers Modibo Keita and naturally in order for us really to see how we can help each other in developing our two countries on a neutral basis.

“There it was, I am prepared to pay another visit . . . to the lovely country. It is a beautiful country and I really love the country and the people.

“We send our brotherly and sisterly greetings to the people of Mali. They are a loving people. We wish them peace.”

President Mugabe has been criticised at home for his expensive trips that have not only bankrupted the national airliner Air Zimbabwe, but is also an excessive burden to the county’s treasury at a time when there is no money to pay salaries even for the soldiers who make the country’s first and last line of defence.