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Mnangagwa makes pitch for Zimbabwe at world stage

by Staff reporter
22 Sep 2018 at 09:16hrs | Views
President Mnangagwa debuts at the UN next week, two months after his election in a poll that was declared free, fair and representative of the will of the people. He arrived in New York for the 73rd session of the UN General Assembly on Thursday accompanied by Finance Minister Professor Mthuli Ncube, Reserve Bank Governor Dr John Mangudya, and Deputy Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet (Presidential Communications) Mr George Charamba, among other senior Government officials.

The 73rd Session of the General Assembly started on Tuesday but the General Debate proper — led by Heads of State and Government or their representatives — opens on September 25.

''I have arrived in New York for the 73rd session of the UN General Assembly. I am here to share our story of a nation reinvigorated, a hope reborn and a dream renewed. I am proud to represent you all and I am proud to represent the new Zimbabwe,'' he posted on his Twitter handle soon after landing in US. He faces the world for the first time as an elected President.

He soundly won the July 30 election but his inauguration was delayed by a few weeks due to the petition at the Constitutional Court by Mr Nelson Chamisa. As expected, the apex court upheld his victory and declared him duly elected President of the Republic of Zimbabwe. This paved the way for him to be inaugurated, ushering in the Second Republic.

Since then, he has appointed a Cabinet that has been widely endorsed as leaner, younger and more forward-looking. He has primed his Government to focus economic reform and development and less on politics.

It is in this context that President Mnangagwa joins other world leaders at the august event. Among other engagements, the President is expected to hold bilateral talks with business and political leaders as well as interacting with the Zimbabwean community resident in the United States.

He and his delegation got down to serious business yesterday well before the start of the more formal schedule of UN events. Some of the world's most influential news outlets, among them Bloomberg TV and CNN interviewed the President, Prof Ncube and Dr Mangudya yesterday, seeking to get an update of events here as well as the Government's economic plan for the next five years.

Soon after speaking to CNN and Bloomberg TV President Mnangagwa was at the centre of the Zimbabwe Investor Forum while Prof Ncube and Dr Mangudya interacted with the movers and shakers sources of global capital on Wall Street and at the New York Stock Exchange. He faced them at the World Economic Forum at Davos, Switzerland, in January.

Then as now, he was the point of focus at a stage that is like the business equivalent of the UN General Assembly. Serious businesspeople and executives meet at Davos every year to discuss global business with the UN General Assembly being the ultimate political stage where political leaders meet.

President Mnangagwa articulated the Zimbabwean story very well at Davos. He told the world that Zimbabwe was back at the world stage and that the country was open for business. He told them that Zimbabwe wants mutually beneficial relations with investors from all nations of the world, including those that have maintained their sanctions on the country despite the change of Government in November.

He said he was building a more open democracy where opposing views are tolerated as long as they are expressed within the precepts of the law. The President is preaching peace and love while denouncing corruption. He has been speaking about the need for economic recovery and growth. To achieve this objective, the Government has been reengaging the international community to end the isolation that had hampered investment inflows and economic turnaround over the past 17 years or so.

Largely, that is the message that we expect the President to share when he delivers his maiden address at the 73rd session of the UN General Assembly. We are delighted that he started the right way and results are clearly showing. Between November last year and days before the elections, foreign direct investment commitments had reached their highest since 2000 and possibly in history, $20 billion. The commitments cover all industries but chiefly in mining and manufacturing.

Encouraged by the positive environment that the new administration is creating, dozens of new investors have actually launched operations while a number of existing companies are expanding operations. Now that the political question has been settled and the Second Republic is firmly in office, we look forward to more of the investment commitments coming to fruition.

On Thursday, the International Monetary Fund pledged to help our Government in clearing its debt to the multilateral funder as a way to open lines for more credit. The British government has committed itself to assisting as well.

These and more are very critical signals that will put the country back into the world fold and attract more investment leading to economic recovery and growth.

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