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Mnangagwa's engagement, re-engagement policy bearing fruit

17 May 2023 at 14:20hrs | Views
As the old adage goes,"No man can live in a vacuum." President Emmerson Mnangagwa is a true reflection of one who understands that synergies and cooperation between states is the secret to success.  He also understands that that for one to walk fast they go alone, but if they want to go far, they go together with others, hence his foreign policy that, "Zimbabwe is a friend to all and an enemy to none" while at the same time keeping Zimbabwe fully open for business.

The second Republic came into power following the November 2017 Operation Restore Legacy and confirmed by President Emmerson Mnangagwa and ZANU PF's victory during the 2018 Harmonised General Elections.  The President hit the ground running and immediately introduced his foreign policy of engagement and re-engagement which is making headways globally. The policy is set to improve the country's image through rebranding. It is also expected to strengthen international relations especially with the estranged Western countries some of which imposed sanctions on Zimbabwe at the turn of the century as punishment for reclaiming her land.

In a statement to the United States of America (USA), the United Kingdom and the European Union (EU), the late former Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Sibusiso Moyo said, "the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is now a ministry which is focusing on reassuring our friends and creating new friends, re-engaging with those who were sitting on the fence before."

The engagement and re-engagement policy has been pivotal in the country's socio-economic, infrastructural and agricultural development to mention but a few.  The Second Republic is making efforts to be readmitted in the Commonwealth, a process that will increase markets for Zimbabwean products. It will also ensure that Zimbabwean products and agricultural produce are accepted within the Commonwealth. Tremendous progress has been noted as evidenced by the Commonwealth delegation that visited Zimbabwe on a fact finding mission in 2022, to ensure that the political and socio-economic environments were conducive to forge relations with Zimbabwe.  The results pleased the delegation which returned to the UK with a positive report.

The signing of the Global Compensation Deed between the Government of Zimbabwe and the former white farmers in July 2021 was also a positive feather on President Mnangagwa's cap.  

The re-engagement policy witnessed the invitation of Harare to the US for the US-Africa Summit at the end of 2022, as well as attendance at the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) which was held in Glasgow, Scotland during the same year. At COP26 President Mnangagwa had the privilege of having a one on one meeting with the recently crowned King Charles III, where an invitation was extended to President Mnangagwa, an invitation he gladly accepted.

Furthermore, President Mnangagwa attended the coronation of King Charles the III, and leveraged on the opportunity to discuss matters of trade investment as well as possibilities of strengthening synergies and forming new relations between Zimbabwe and the UK on the sidelines of that event.

This year's Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF) was proof that relations between Zimbabwe and the international community are thawing for the best, as evidenced by the high subscription of investors from foreign countries including the EU bloc, the UK and the US.

A record 533 exhibitors turned up this year, which translated to a 27 percent increase from the previous year's figure 420. A total of 21 countries participated in the trade fair.  This was a 30 percent increase on the 2022 figure of 16 countries.  The US and the EU were exhibiting for the first time since the imposition of illegal sanctions on Zimbabwe in 2001. President Mnangagwa's efforts are bearing fruit as the ZITF presented an opportunity to open new markets as well as allow Zimbabwe to showcase its potential to possible foreign investors. While exhibiting at the ZITF, the EU Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Jobst Von Kirchmann said his bloc was making efforts to increase trade and investment between the 27 member bloc and Zimbabwe.

The US and its allies know that Zimbabwe is a blessed country, which is endowed with flora, fauna various various minerals such as lithium, which lately has created the "lithium race" as many foreign companies are seeking to have their own piece of the "white gold."  All this is due to the world advancing toward the smart energies, which has seen many countries moving away from the use of fossil fuels to using electronic motor vehicles and solar energy, both of which require lithium batteries. The US and its Western allies are lagging behind due to isolation policy, while China is accessing large deposits of lithium in some countries including Zimbabwe.

Since the discovery of these large lithium deposits in Zimbabwe, the US and its allies have shown an interest leading to some American investors such as, Glenn Jakins who has warned the US and its allies to stop maintaining a hardline stance against President Mnangagwa as it will not help with mending relations, leaving other countries like China to fill the vacuum and benefit more.

President Mnangagwa is taking Zimbabwe into a new developmental stage, were he is leaving no one and no place behind. The country is ready to work with anyone who will also conform to Zimbabwe's expectations, values and goals. The US and its western allies should drop their pride, read between the lines and unconditionally remove the sanctions that are weighing Zimbabwe down.
Even if they delay, pressure from their business communities will continue to echo volumes on how sanctions have not only pushed back Zimbabwe but the USA as well as it stands to miss out on the lithium race and other business opportunities in Zimbabwe.   

Source - Martin Machinda
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