Bongani Ndlovu, columnist
FOREIGN Embassies are committed to supporting Zimbabwe’s economic recovery efforts through ongoing dialogue and collaboration.
Building on the government’s economic diplomacy campaign, embassies whose representatives attended the inaugural Diplomats Forum, which was held at the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF) in Bulawayo on Thursday, expressed their commitment to work. working closely with Zimbabwe to transform livelihoods.
The forum was held under the theme: “Rebuilding a Stronger Business Community for Zimbabwe” and attracted the participation of 22 country representatives.
These came from countries such as Russia, the United States, Tanzania, Indonesia and the European Union (EU).
The head of the EU delegation in Zimbabwe, Mr. Timo Olkkonen, who was represented by Mr. Franck Porte, said that the cooperation between Zimbabwe under the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) has a great potential to help the country resist Covid-19 and revitalize its economy.
“Access to markets is a major success for any business enterprise. Zimbabwean businesses have access to huge European markets of half a billion consumers duty-free and quota-free, ”he said.
“On the other hand, the EU, through various interventions, is providing support to Zimbabwe to improve climate investments, enhance competitiveness, boost industrialization and improve export performance. “
The EPAs negotiated between the EU and regional blocs of African countries aim to promote the gradual integration of African economies into global markets, notably by helping African companies to increase their participation in regional and global value chains.
As such, Porte said the EU continues to engage with Zimbabwe to strengthen trade and trade relations, which sees the country take the lead in EPA negotiations in November.
“Zimbabwe is engaged with Madagascar, Mauritius, Comoros and Seychelles in negotiations with the EU aimed at deepening current EPA agreements to include in particular services, intellectual property, technical barriers to trade, sustainable development and agriculture.
“Zimbabwe will take the lead in the negotiations in the last three chapters cited in November,” Porte said.
“This new EPA will become the first complete in Africa. The aspirations of Zimbabwe and its regional counterparts, in the Sadc and Comesa regions, to accelerate the pace of industrialization through regional integration, including through the African Free Trade Area, which l The EU strongly supports it, both morally and with resources.
In his remarks, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade Dr Fredrick Shava said Zimbabwe is moving forward in its economic transformation despite illegal economic sanctions.
“There are 49 exhibitors from other countries, territories and economies. For those who come from Zimbabwe, it means that we are doing our best to survive under the circumstances of the sanctions, ”he said.
“We do our best not to feel sorry for ourselves, but to pull up our socks and get on with our work. If we can do it maybe, we will be less of a burden on the international community and less of a crying baby for those who have imposed sanctions on us. “
As part of the Second Republic’s re-engagement, the government pledged US $ 3.5 billion to thousands of white farmers whose farms were taken over in 2000 as part of the successful land reform program. Dr Shava believes that after this payment the countries will move closer to Zimbabwe.
“Because of the compensation fund, they might be looking at relaxing us and saying that because you re-thought, through the compensation fund, you’re going to reimburse the farmers who have repossessed their land and we’re going to participate with you, ”he said.
“We thought that if we had paid in full, the money we and the farmers agreed to, we would certainly have recreated our friendship and we look forward to this opportunity.”
The ZITF company organized the forum in collaboration with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade.
The Minister of Industry and Trade, Dr Sekai Nzenza, Judith Ncube (Bulawayo Affairs), former Minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi and the Mayor of Bulawayo, Solomon Mguni, leaders of industry and state institutions were also present. – @bonganinkuzi