Tendai Mugabe in DUBAI, United Arab Emirates
THE international community should embrace Zimbabwe as it forges ahead with its engagement and re-engagement drive to attract global capital to rebuild the economy, President Mnangagwa has said.
He said Zimbabwe’s economy had been on a downward spiral for the last two decades owing to illegal Western sanctions that had also eroded the country’s currency.
President Mnangagwa said Harare had not wronged anyone and did not harbour any ambition to interfere in the affairs of other countries.
He made the remarks during a panel discussion on the revitalisation of Zimbabwe’s economy during the 5th Global Business Forum on Africa that opened here yesterday.
The discussion was moderated by Mr Sangu Delle, chairman of Golden Palm Investments in Ghana.
Said President Mnangagwa: “Now we are saying yes, we can continue speaking against sanctions but we want to say to the international community, we have not offended you, embrace us back, we embrace you also.
“That way we have opened up. We are saying now under the new dispensation, we want to engage and re-engage. Engage with those countries and nations and international organisations who have not engaged us before, re-engage with those countries and nations who would have disengaged with us.
“We have no plans of interfering in any other country’s affairs. We want to remain Zimbabweans working for our own destiny as Zimbabweans. That is what we as Zimbabweans desire and we expect that the rest of the international community should respect us as we respect them.”
President Mnangagwa called for mutual respect between countries.
Zimbabwe, he said, took up arms against white rule because of unfair land distribution and it was inevitable that citizens would reclaim their land after the liberation war.
The President said the land reform was now a closed chapter and the world should now chart a new path with Harare.
“The major grievance for that armed struggle was land and it was necessary to get our land back. When we introduced our land reform programme in the year 2000, we offended those who had taken land from us and they control all the global media and as a result, sanctions were imposed on us and the global media supported them.
“When sanctions were imposed on us, our economy collapsed. Our currency collapsed totally. Up to now we do not have any support from financial international institutions like the World Bank (WB) or the International Monetary Fund, (IMF)” said President Mnangagwa.
Major international financial institutions have not extended lines of credit to Harare for the past 20 years, leaving the country to largely survive on its own resources.
“We are saying the land reform is behind us and is irreversible so we now want to engage with the rest of the international community. We want to be embraced.”
After the discussion, President Mnangagwa was swarmed by potential investors who were keen to make enquiries on business opportunities in Zimbabwe.
The President was invited to the 5th GBF by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and ruler of Dubai.
UAE Minister of State for International Cooperation Reem Ebrahim Al Hashimy called for the deepening of relations between Africa and the UAE.
The GBF, which ends today, runs under the theme: “Scale up Africa.”